AIDS Expert Backs Pope on Condoms
A leading AIDS expert from Harvard University has backed the comments made by the Pope Benedict XVI suggesting that the distribution of contraception actually spreads rather than prevents the disease.
"The Pope is correct... the best evidence we have supports the Pope's comments," Edward C Green, the director of the Aids Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, said in an interview for the National Review Online.
"There is a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the US-funded 'Demographic Health Surveys', between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates.
"This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction 'technology' such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by 'compensating' or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology."
During his flight to Cameroon earlier this week, the Pope made a shocking statement on fighting AIDS in Africa and on the use of contraception.
"I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome with advertising slogans. If the soul is lacking, if Africans do not help one another, the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem," the pope said, stirring big controversy around the world.
More than 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV, according to a 2008 UNAIDS/WHO report. Nine out of 10 children with HIV in the world live in the region, which has 11,4 million orphans because of AIDS, the report said, and 1,5 million people there died of the disease in 2007.
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Marriage in Utah has a different set up than marriage in Africa but there are some similarities.
In Africa, the husband is out and gets infected and the wife has no choice. She has to have sex with her husband. In Utah, all the women are under one roof. Saves on gas.
Although I am always for educating and elevating the human being, this is an epidemic.
It is going to take a lot of work. I say, the order of urgency is:
-- condoms, education, medication, learning abstinence or limiting promiscuity, etc
You are dealing with trying to control the most primitive and basic human urges. Can't wait for them to be elevated in mind to limit an epidemic.
There is a research and a theory in recent years that by limiting transmission, we can weaken the virus...
Yes, educating the public will be important, but there are other problems too:
~For those people who do like condoms, these goods are few and far between, this means that the next point becomes critical:
~Apparently, among whites, blacks, and to some extent Hispanics, especially after the 60s, sexuality seems to be the norm: for men, it's a sign of power over women and (most importantly in this case) the more women you go to bed with, the more masculine you are; for women, it's a sign of freedom from male constraints over sexuality. Of these, the black population regardless of location has the least access to condoms (otherwise AIDS would be a serious problem for all these groups). These three groups will need to be reeducated about better sexual behavior too (not punishing adultery, but encouraging the public to think twice before sex through taxation and other non-punitive policies). Very few of my friends are out of University or through it are virgins; all were spared because they were using condoms.
~Condoms are not contraceptives (article doesn't differentiate). Contraceptives like the Pill do not defend against STDs. Condoms also function as protection against them.
The problem is that Africans don't like to wear condoms. Even when they can get free condoms, they still don't wear them. Maybe if there were free condoms for women it would stop the spread of AIDS in Africa. Dislike of condoms coupled with rampant promiscuity is the reason why AIDS is spreading in Africa. Why is there no AIDS epidemic in Utah, where people don't have sex until there is a ring on their finger? Sex has to mean something more than a handshake before AIDS can be contained in Africa.