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Full Version: "You can't resolve it (the AIDS crisis) with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem."
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<style></style>Has anybody here begun a thread about Pope Benedict XVI's remarks upon his visit to Africa?:  
Quote:"You can't resolve it (the AIDS crisis) with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem." 
  This is sure, if it hasn't already, to be zealously challenged by various interest groups, and I suspect the Vatican and Catholics everywhere will be put in the position of having to defend and explain the science and rationale behind this statement.    Has there been any official elaboration?     
Miquelot Wrote:<style></style>Has anybody here begun a thread about Pope Benedict XVI's remarks upon his visit to Africa?:  
Quote:"You can't resolve it (the AIDS crisis) with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem." 
  This is sure, if it hasn't already, to be zealously challenged by various interest groups, and I suspect the Vatican and Catholics everywhere will be put in the position of having to defend and explain the science and rationale behind this statement.    Has there been any official elaboration?   

I haven't seen anything official, but Catholic Culture ran an interesting parody on the claim that condoms will help (it makes the assumption that the AIDS explosion in Africa is largely caused by violence against women, as do liberals).

Catholic Culture Wrote:African wife-beaters urged to practice "safe-sox" The Association of Compassionate Christian Caregivers today severely criticized traditional Catholic teaching on marital "love" and called upon the churches to encourage wife-beating Africans to take the "prudent, practical steps" to reduce the risk of HIV infection when assailing their spouses.
"The science is not in doubt" says Fizzy Osbourne, spokesman for the International Planned Widowhood Federation, "all the evidence shows that bare fists used to pummel infected spouses cause skin ruptures that increase the rate of transmission to the uninfected partner."
AIDS experts advise uninfected wife-beaters to don leather bag-mitts -- ideally on top of and in addition to standard latex gloves -- before striking their HIV-positive wives. Knuckle abrasion and random laceration can be reduced by as much as 94%, which significantly decreases exposure of the aggressor to contaminated blood.
Pre-nuptial workshops in many parts of Africa also instruct future husbands in low-risk striking techniques (Safe-Socks). Most external bleeding ensues from straight punches delivered to the angular parts of the face, especially the eyebrows, teeth, and nasal cartilage. Hooks, uppercuts, and body-punches, on the other hand, rarely break the skin and therefore seldom cause bleeding of the kind that can spatter onto the "active" partner and put him at risk of infection.
Scientists and other specialists in AIDS transmission are dismayed that Vatican ultra-conservatives continue to ignore their findings and insist that all persons -- even unlettered Angolans and even when HIV-negative -- refrain in all circumstances from acts of physical violence against their spouses.
"Preaching charity will NOT solve the problem!" says Osbourne. "We need to work with the reality of where these people are. These are Africans, for God's sake, not persons capable of understanding and following a moral norm. It is irresponsible of the Pope to teach otherwise."
The ACCC was joined by Zero Population Growth and Prof Josef Fritzl in accusing the Catholic Church of "increasing death" by its insistence on charity. "It's about the children," sniffed Fritzl. "I believe all children deserve a father. Yet how many thousands of fathers have died and left orphans behind them -- simply because they were frightened by the Church into leaving off their gloves when thumping the old woman?
South African Bishop Reggie Cawcutt was unavailable for comment.
Miquelot Wrote:<style></style>Has anybody here begun a thread about Pope Benedict XVI's remarks upon his visit to Africa?:  
Quote:"You can't resolve it (the AIDS crisis) with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem." 
  This is sure, if it hasn't already, to be zealously challenged by various interest groups, and I suspect the Vatican and Catholics everywhere will be put in the position of having to defend and explain the science and rationale behind this statement.    Has there been any official elaboration?     

It's been in the British media for the last few days. Newspapers, tv shows, news channels are all 'discussing' it. It was actually discussed on a morning program alongside a debate about papal infallibility. One strident looking woman stood up and denounced the whole thing as "superstitious nonsense", to resounding cheers from the audience.

Christianity has been entirely undermined by our new culture and spirituality is completely repressed in most individuals and institutions. This is the situation I see in Europe.
It's been all over the news, brought up as an example of how out-of-touch Catholics are, and so cold hearted! Currently, a large segment of the new AIDS cases in Africa are transmitted through prostitution. Farmers come up to town, find a prostitute, then carry the disease back to their wives and future children, you get the idea. Of course, Benedict is quite right that the solution is not condoms but working on marital fidelity, but the media is having none of it. Every season is Pope-bashing season!
Miquelot Wrote:Has there been any official elaboration?

Since the comments or in general?

The past thirty years have seen the rise of Theology of the Body, before that Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae dealt with the subject.

Whatever problems Christians may have against the Theology, TOB is a broadside against contraception. If one would like to learn about the Church's stance against contraception, TOB would be a good place to start.
Credo Wrote:
Miquelot Wrote:Has there been any official elaboration?

Since the comments or in general?

The past thirty years have seen the rise of Theology of the Body, before that Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae dealt with the subject.

Whatever problems Christians may have against the Theology, TOB is a broadside against contraception. If one would like to learn about the Church's stance against contraception, TOB would be a good place to start.

<style></style>Since the comments, not in general.  (Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae are predate the AIDS epidemic, and I am not sure that Theology of the Body addresses condom-use contributing to the rise of HIV/AIDS.)  
Miquelot Wrote:Since the comments, not in general.

Nothing that I've heard.
 
One has a hard time thinking what else the Church could say that hasn't already been said on the subject.
 
These "controversies" seem to happen one after the other. It's futile for the Vatican to explain once again to the childish West her reasons for prohibiting contraception, since she's been saying the same thing for decades.
 
Contraception is an intrinsic evil. One of the points of the marital act is children (along with the union of souls). If one has AIDS, it would be unwise to engage in said act since the child conceived would have a high chance of becoming sick himself. Those individuals with AIDS would do better to practice abstinence. Most will not, but that's not the Church's fault. But don't worry when people ignore the Church and have babies with AIDS; guess who will then step-in to feed, clothe, house and raise AIDS babies? It won't be Planned Parenthood, nor CNN or FOX, or any of the people up in arms about the pope's recent comments.
This Christianity Today article, at a glance, is not half-bad (considering it is a non-Catholic publication):

Quote:InterviewCondoms, HIV, and Pope BenedictLeading HIV researcher Edward C. Green says criticism of the pope 'unfair.'Interview by Timothy C. Morgan | posted 3/20/2009 04:27PMhttp://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/marchweb-only/111-53.0.html
Edward C. Green is one of the world's leading field researchers on the spread of HIV and public health interventions. He's the director of the Harvard AIDS Prevention Research Project, and is a leading advocate for evidence-based interventions. He has been sharply criticized by some public health experts for supporting sexual partner reduction programs and for endorsing the so-called ABC method ("Abstain, Be faithful, or use a Condom") for fighting the transmission of HIV. After Pope Benedict's comments earlier this week, Green agreed to answer Christianity Today deputy managing editor Tim Morgan's questions by e-mail.

Is Pope Benedict being criticized unfairly for his comments about HIV and condoms?

This is hard for a liberal like me to admit, but yes, it's unfair because in fact, the best evidence we have supports his comments — at least his major comments, the ones I have seen.

What does the evidence show about the effectiveness of condom-use strategies in reducing HIV infection rates among large-scale populations?

It will be easiest if we confine our discussion to Africa, because that's where the pope is, and that is what he was talking about. There's no evidence at all that condoms have worked as a public health intervention intended to reduce HIV infections at the "level of population." This is a bit difficult to understand. It may well make sense for an individual to use condoms every time, or as often as possible, and he may well decrease his chances of catching HIV. But we are talking about programs, large efforts that either work or fail at the level of countries, or, as we say in public health, the level of population. Major articles published in Science, The Lancet, British Medical Journal, and even Studies in Family Planning have reported this finding since 2004. I first wrote about putting emphasis on fidelity instead of condoms in Africa in 1988.

Is there any country worldwide (Brazil or Thailand, for example) that has emphasized condoms where a reduction in HIV infections has been verified and sustained?

In countries where HIV is largely concentrated among prostitutes and their clients, such as Thailand and Cambodia, there seems to have been success in promoting the so-called 100 percent condom policy in brothels. Most analysts credit the decline of HIV infection rates there to this policy and its implementation (of course, they were saying that about Uganda as well), but I agree that this probably has been the major factor explaining prevalence decline in those two countries. However, condom use is not especially high for prostitutes and their clients who are not based in brothels. And another factor in both countries is surely that there was a significant decline in the proportion of men going to prostitutes of any sort, and there was even a big decline in the proportion of men having extramarital sex in the years before we first saw infections decrease in Thailand.

Is there any country in Africa with a high HIV infection rate that has implemented new programs and seen infection rates fall? If so, what strategies are being followed?

I'm glad you asked this. We are seeing HIV decline in eight or nine African countries. In every case, there's been a decrease in the proportion of men and women reporting multiple sexual partners. Ironically, in the first country where we saw this, Uganda, HIV prevalence decline stopped in about 2004, and infection rates appear to be rising again. This appears to be in part because emphasis on interventions that promote monogamy and fidelity has weakened significantly, and earlier behavior changes have eroded. There has been a steady increase in the very behavior that once accounted for rates declining — namely, having multiple and concurrent sex partners. There is a widespread belief that somehow Uganda had fewer condoms. In fact, foreign donors have persuaded Uganda to put even more emphasis on condoms.

What about Swaziland, which has a reputation for one of the highest HIV rates in the world? Do condoms work there? If not, what would?

As I have said, condoms have not worked in any country in Africa. The two countries with the highest infection rates, Swaziland and Botswana, have both launched MCP campaigns. "MCP" is shorthand for campaigns that discourage people from having multiple and concurrent sexual partners. We are starting to see prevalence decline in both of these countries.

Is the African church part of the problem here for creating a stigma and demonizing people with HIV?

That charge has been way overblown. There was some of that early in the pandemic, but the churches' involvement and intervention are essential. For one thing, they have always been right about where to put the emphasis — namely, on marital fidelity and abstinence, or delay of the age of first sex. All faith-based organizations promote this, whatever the denomination or religion. Faith-based organizations are some of the most powerful NGOs in Africa, and they play a leading role not only in general health and education in these countries, but also in caring for the sick and dying in the AIDS epidemics we find in Africa, from the very beginning. I think historians will look back and find great fault in the fact that the major AIDS donor organizations did really not bring the religious groups into prevention activities at or near the beginning of the pandemic.

What is the best HIV prevention strategy for the Obama administration to fund with new PEPFAR money?

Well, my views here also upset a lot of my colleagues, but I've always said that we cannot treat our way out of this pandemic. A sound public health approach is always based on good prevention strategies. We can justify treatment with expensive anti-retroviral drugs on humanitarian grounds, but it's hard to do on pubic health grounds.

So I would advise Obama, the candidate I voted for, to put more emphasis on prevention, and to face up to the hard realities of the best evidence available to date, which shows that condom promotion, testing and counseling, curing the curable STDs, or any of the other interventions widely endorsed and considered "best practices" always funded have simply not worked in Africa. (It's possible they may work in other regions, like condoms in Thailand, so it's easy for me to be misquoted on something like this.) In a number of studies, these interventions have actually been shown to not work.

The two interventions that work best in Africa are promotion of monogamy and fidelity, and male circumcision. We have even stronger science behind the latter. I assume people know about "the male circumcision factor" these days, so I will not say more here.

As for IDU (injecting drug use) epidemics, I would advise putting resources into preventing addiction in the first place and into treatment of drug addicts and facilitation of support groups to keep addicts from relapsing, groups like those in the 12-step programs.

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