Skip to comments.Africa Activists Want Catholics to Back Condoms
Posted on 04/17/2005 2:46:42 PM PDT by presidio9
Rose was raised as a good Catholic schoolgirl by her grandparents, but now the 18-year-old orphan survives by selling sex in a Ugandan slum with scant regard for the teachings of the church.
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Whatever the next pope says about condoms, she believes they are the only way to stop an AIDS epidemic that killed more than 2 million people in sub-Saharan Africa last year.
"I'd like to follow the Church's teachings, but with condoms you can stay safe," she said. "Maybe I'm already sick, but I don't think so. You have to survive and look for money."
The Catholic Church, along with Pentecostal churches, is growing fast in sub-Saharan Africa. As one of the most influential institutions on the continent the Church's stance on the fight against HIV/AIDS affects millions.
Some 25 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are already living with HIV/AIDS.
Many AIDS campaigners say the Vatican's rejection of condoms in favor of abstinence to prevent AIDS threatens to set back the fight against the disease by years, removing a vital weapon from the armory of prevention campaigns.
"The earlier the Church changes its position, the better for the fight against AIDS in the Third World," said Nwoke Anselm of AIDS Alliance Nigeria.
The condom question also confronts Catholics with a dilemma: those who defy the church hierarchy to champion condom use in the belief it will save lives run the risk of becoming pariahs within their own parishes.
Rose's native Uganda is often cited as an African success story in fighting AIDS, having cut HIV infection rates to around 6 percent of the population from 30 percent in the early 1990s.
Many Ugandans attribute President Yoweri Museveni's government's success to its early frankness about condoms in contrast to the silence of many African leaders, but ministers are increasingly emphasizing abstinence and fidelity.
While abstinence may sound fine in theory, activists say poverty forces many young people in Africa into selling sex just to survive, making it impossible for them to avoid intercourse.
Uganda's top Catholic, Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala, has been an outspoken critic of condoms, which he says promote immorality, and has urged youths to vow to abstain from sex before marriage.
The government says its strategy is working in a country where conservative messages resonate with the Catholic faithful, but New-York based Human Rights Watch said last month that U.S.-funded "abstinence only" programs threatened progress.
Uganda says it has long employed an A-B-C strategy -- Abstinence, Be Faithful and use Condoms -- and denies accusations it has been induced to change its emphasis to reflect religious-right values in the United States.
"Of course we realize what condoms did in the 1990s. Now we are down to around 6 percent, we feel the only way to bring down rates further is through emphasizing abstinence and fidelity," said an official at the Ministry of Health.
Catholic leaders see Africa as fertile turf for expansion due to its relatively conservative values on sex, but some activists say the church is less influential than it seems.
"People don't often listen to what they are told in church," said one AIDS campaigner in Madagascar, adding that educators should target schools, the media and parents.
Some campaigners said Catholic leaders were using the church's moral authority and enormous grass-roots presence to hinder life-saving schemes.
Umati, a family planning program in Tanzania, said 22 of its AIDS educators were barred from taking Holy Communion in one district because they were promoting condoms.
In Malawi, where AIDS kills about 10 people every hour, Mark Kambalazaza, the head of one of the capital's biggest parishes, was expelled from the Church four years ago after he criticized its stance on condoms. He started his own church, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Ministry, which drew thousands.
"The Church has got its own beliefs. Our policy is that people cannot abstain," said Malawi Health Minister Heatherwick Ntaba. "They have to use a condom because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that is claiming a lot of lives in our country."
I have a better way than condoms to stop the transmission of AIDS, problem is, men have got to stop porking each other in the ass.
Well besides the theological issues of placing a barrier between the partners in the conjugal act, condoms provide a false sense of security since many of the cheaper ones have air holes much larger than the HIV virus. They are impermable to sperm but the virus goes right thru it.
Abstinence and monogamy - work every time they are tried.
Michael Fumento: The African AIDS myth? (Pain in the neck registration required. I suggest a trip to BugMeNot.com)
Please post this as an excertpted thread. It is an excellent article, and it appeared in yesterday's NY Post.
There is another agenda at work here, folks. This isn't about Africa, either.
In Africa, there is lots of hetero transmission of AIDS because they are not clean people and often have open sores on their bodies.
Back Jesus not condoms. The message is simple. The meaning is clear.
If someone wants to open an African drug store or a pharmacy, then they can go in and pay $9.99 for a box of 12 like everyone else has to do. I'm sick of libs acting like condoms are a right that anyone is entitled to at taxpayer expense.
Who ever whined about my comment needs to grow up. OK, I'll repeat it without the implied expletive, since someone is acting sentitive today--
CHARITY SHOULD BE SPENT ON FOOD - NOT ON SEXUAL ACTIVITY.
Am I allowed to say that?
If they don't listen to Catholic teaching about sex outside of marriage, why do they care about what Catholics teach about condoms????
It seems that during earlier depression times when poverty was much more stark, you didn't hear about morals going out the window on a widespread basis just to "survive"...
Ping to self for later pingout.
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