Pope: Condoms Increase HIV
March 18, 2009
Harry Knox, director of the Human Rights Campaign's religion and faith program, responded to Pope Benedict’s remarks this week that condoms increase HIV infections. Speaking to the Associated Press during a trip to Africa, Benedict said the Roman Catholic Church is at the forefront of the battle against AIDS. “You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms," the Pope said. “On the contrary, it increases the problem.” Harry said on Tuesday:
The Pope’s statement that condoms don't help control the spread of HIV, but rather condoms increase infection rates, is hurting people in the name of Jesus. On a continent where millions of people are infected with HIV, it is morally reprehensible to spread such blatant falsehoods. The Pope’s rejection of scientifically proven prevention methods is forcing Catholics in Africa to choose between their faith and the health of their entire community. Jesus was about helping the marginalized and downtrodden, not harming them further.
About 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV, according to UNAIDS. In 2007, three-quarters of all AIDS deaths worldwide were there, as well as two-thirds of all people living with HIV. Pope Benedict should know better than to condemn proven methods for saving lives on the grounds of moral authority.
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