“Relying on condoms is like betting on your own death,” said Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, the Vatican’s spokesperson on family affairs, last week. He reiterated his opinion that condoms are too permeable to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, an opinion that Bishops and Cardinals are repeating across four continents.
The World Health Organization immediately denounced this view, saying it was particularly dangerous while the world faces a pandemic that has already killed 20 million people. Scientific research by groups such as the U.S. National Institutes of Health has found “intact condoms… are essentially impermeable” to HIV, and that “condoms provide a highly effective barrier to transmission” of HIV. The Vatican’s Trujillo responded: “They are wrong about that… this is an easily recognizable fact.”
Ironically–and disastrously–the Catholic Church is growing fastest in Africa, where AIDS is not just killing individuals, but also depopulating entire towns and destroying the demographic balance of a half-dozen countries. In Kenya, for example, where an estimated 20% of people have HIV, the Church condemns condoms for promoting promiscuity and repeats the absurd claim about permeability. Nairobi Archbishop Raphael Ndingi Nzeki says “AIDS… has grown so fast because of the availability of condoms.” Mistrusting condoms, many infected Africans are still trying to cure AIDS by having sex with virgins, further fueling the epidemic.
Once again, the Catholic Church has set itself in opposition to science. It is a too-straight line from the torture of Galileo, forced to retract his discoveries before the Inquisition, to this latest rejection of scientific truth.
But ultimate responsibility for Cardinal Trujillo’s death-inviting manifesto lies not with him, but with his supervisor–Pope John Paul II. And in this, the Pope’s hands are very, very dirty.
While the Pope’s impending death has inspired an international outburst of sentimental tunnel vision (including the demonic idea of awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize), let’s focus on reality. This is a Pope who took an emerging, liberalizing institution and sent it reeling backwards by centuries–not accidentally, and not once or twice, but meticulously, in hundreds of ways small and large. Whether by divine inspiration or more earthly design, this man has undone the work of his predecessors, ushering in a totalitarian Papal regime.
Recall that after Pope John XXIII assumed the papacy in 1958, he convened a Vatican Council to end centuries of what he called “holy isolation,” exhorting the church to participate in humanity’s struggle for peace and justice. He died shortly after, but by the 1970s, Catholics were playing a leading role in resistance to apartheid. “Liberation theology” was reconnecting the church with the impoverished peasants of Latin America. In Europe and North America, archaic ideas about gender and sexuality were under challenge.
The future John Paul II attended the Vatican Council meetings in the 1960s and opposed the changes. Upon taking office he undertook to reverse them. For twenty-five years, the Pope has refused to recognize the role that contraception could play in reducing the world’s poverty and hunger he claims to care so much about. Now near death, he stubbornly refuses to support the many non-monogamous members of his flock in battling the disease that is destroying them.
According to Time Magazine, John Paul II has “steadfastly held the line against those…who saw in Vatican II an opening to democratize the Church… inside the Church his own rule will be remembered as nothing if not authoritarian.”
Lamentably, the Pope’s death will not rescue the Church or its followers, because he has appointed 96% of the Cardinals who will choose his successor. He has, in effect, picked his replacement.
By resorting to lies about condoms, the Vatican reveals its mistrust in the faith of its own flock; fearing that people won’t abstain from condoms for theological reasons, the Church provides pseudo-scientific ones. And in resorting to autocracy, it shows it doesn’t trust its own future.
Source: “Reprinted from Sexual Intelligence, ©Marty Klein, Ph.D. (www.SexEd.org).”
The Scientific FACTS about condoms and HIV
The is lots of false information regarding condom protection. The biggest myth is that because HIV is much smaller than the pores of a condom designed to stop seamen. BUT the HIV needs a carrier it can not transfer by itself. This myth has absolutely no medical basis but the lie is being spread by the religious right bend on sexual repression rather than meaningful education..
HIV lives INSIDE cells, specifically the T4 cells of the immune system which are found in large volumes in semen and pre-ejac. fluids. These cells do not leak from high quality latex condoms. However, lambskin condoms should be avoided since they are much more porous. Tests have put latex condoms through much more stress than a man can without breaking. Armed with lots of scientific proof of effectiveness, the Centers for Disease Control says “The biggest problem…is failure to take the condom out of the wrapper and use it. We need to shift our focus from the product, which is reliable, to the user.”
Condom critics are spreading myths, the CDC says. It says two new studies, the largest ever, show that latex condoms are HIGHLY EFFECTIVE in stopping HIV. “Condoms aren’t 100 percent (effective), but they can be very, very close if used consistently,” Dr. Kay Stone of the CDC states. When they fail, its usually because people do dumb things, like lubricate them with baby oil or petroleum jelly, or just plain don’t use them.
In one study, NONE of 124 healthy Europeans who used condoms every time they had sex with an AIDS infected partner became infected over a two year period. 12 of another 121 Europeans (10%) who didn’t use condoms consistently became HIV infected. The highest risk was when one partner had full-blown AIDS, rather than just HIV positive. This led reserchers to put the risk of infection at 5% with unprotected sex with an AIDS infected partner. Over 300 other studies consistently show clearly the effectiveness of condom use. Another Italian study also confirms the lack of HIV transmission in the highest possible risk group (HIV infected having sex with spouse). The infection rate was only 9.7 per 100 YEARS in the group that DID NOT use condoms, and 1.1 per 100 YEARS in group that used condoms. Most of the transmission was when the male was the infected partner to the female spouse. Withdrawing before ejaculation reduced to risk of spreading HIV from an infected male to his female partner (as would be expected).
It is also interesting that the risk of HIV from a one night stand or from a prostitute is much lower than in a long term relationship since repeated exposure is usually needed and it is so difficult to transmit vaginally. This is because the vagina acids usually kill the HIV. Of course, it is almost impossible to transmit female to male unless other factors are involved such as open lesions from STDs etc. But a women is at more risk than a man. Homosexually it is very easy to pass, but the gay community has been on the forefront of teaching and mostly using condoms and seeking more monogamous relationships, than in the pre AIDS days. The big question is do we teach safer sex knowing it is natural and not going to go away, or do we insist on abstinence and be laughed at or ignored by most.
(RENO)- Two of Nevada’s legal brothels are making national headlines in a study of condom use conducted jointly by Princton and Emory Universities. The results of the study were made public in the American Journal of Public Health. 41 Nevada prostitutes averaging six clients per day showed that when put on correctly, few condoms break and they work well in preventing disease when used properly and consistently.
Taken from the CDC web site:
BREAKAGE AND SLIPPAGE
“Although users often fear that the condom will break or fall off during intercourse, studies show that these events rarely occur when condoms are used properly. Many studies conducted in economically developed countries have shown that the incidence of condom breakage and slip-page during vaginal intercourse can be very low. Typical studies indicate that the rate of breakage for good quality condoms is less than 3 or 4 condoms per 100 condoms used, although rates as low as 1% to 2% have been reported in studies from Zambia, Ghana, and Mali.
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