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Pope, in Africa, says condoms won't solve AIDS problem


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Neither condoms nor viagara, celibacy is the only solution(?)

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And celibacy isn't going to happen. It's like abstinance. It doesn't work as a teaching to teens. They still have sex, but they aren't prepared if they fail. So then they have sex without a condom.

I know that this is about the Pope and AIDS, but the fact that people actually believe that telling people not to have sex is redicules. We've seen how it works in this country and the teens have access to condoms.

Just say no doesn't work. < :-)

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I read this article and just want to scream. How ridiculous!

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Hodes said the pope was right that condoms are not the sole solution to Africa’s AIDS epidemic, but added they are one of the very few proven measures to prevent HIV infections.

If only the Pope had put it in that context. Hodes is right, but she is being very generous with the Pope.

Many of you may not want to admit it, but the Pope has a point. Abstinence and reduction of partners, as in only with one's spouse or one partner at a time, are important tools in the fight against AIDS. The general theme is responsibility. What the Pope does not want to admit is that condoms are also important and also a part of responsible sexual conduct.

The problem with the Pope is that he is taking a "my way or the highway" approach to this. And it is damned ugly, impractical, and irresponsible of him. In fact, if the two sides do not coordinate their efforts, nothing will get done. That is because Africans in those regions are keen on neither abstinence nor condoms. It hardly matters which they choose, but if they don't start choosing one its just going to get worse and worse, and it could spill over.

The key to the whole puzzle is education. And by the Pope's words, he is all for half an education, which is no education at all. That makes the Pope an obstacle. If God had the habit of flicking obstinate fools on the back of the head, the Pope would be picking himself up and wiping off his knees now.

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Haha, how long are the Catholics going to keep up this silly charade?

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You would expect more from the leader of a religion of a few hundred million people. Hopefully other catholics are smarter than him.

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What they really want here is female condoms that are unnoticeable by the men. African men rarely wear condoms and an African woman that demands that her husband must wear condoms will be punished/beaten.

No sex outside of marriage would certainly help.

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The religious people (in any religion) are irrational thus very dangerous.

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FromEurope: The religious people (in any religion) are irrational thus very dangerous.

Unfortunately, some so called rational people can be just as dangerous. If not for rational people, we would not have missiles with nuclear warheads. Religious people usually have their hearts in the right place, and this is important whether you want to admit it or not. Rational people often just have no heart at all. Anyone you follow should have a good combination of heart and mind. And I am afraid that most of those intent on solving the African AIDS problem are usually lacking in one or the other. Which is why I say they will do no good until they cooperate with one another.

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Once again the Catholic Church is helping to spread AIDS, this time thanks to the Pope himself.

Simply telling people to pray rather than have sex does not work. Condoms do work. Africa does not need the Pope; it does need better sex education and tons and tons of free condoms.

The condoms, not the cross.

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Ban religion i say, get saom sanity back into this world.

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he shouldn't have been allowed in Africa period. Not just for this dumb remark, but like how many Catholics are there in Africa? No point for him there.

I was a in the medical field and do know one thing though, condoms do not 100% protect you from AIDS. The virus is small enough to fit though those microscopic holes in most condoms - unless they have changed in the last ten years.

MickyPearce: Ban religion I say..." Man, I've been advocating that ever since god came into my life.

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"Two reviews summarizing the use of latex condoms among serodiscordant heterosexual couples (i.e., in which one partner is HIV positive and the other HIV negative) indicated that using latex condoms substantially reduces the risk for HIV transmission. In addition, two subsequent studies of serodiscordant couples confirmed this finding and emphasized the importance of consistent (i.e., use of a condom with each act of intercourse) and correct condom use. In one study of serodiscordant couples, none of 123 partners who used condoms consistently seroconverted; in comparison, 12 (10%) of 122 seronegative partners who used condoms inconsistently became infected. In another study of serodiscordant couples (with seronegative female partners of HIV-infected men), three (2%) of 171 consistent condom users seroconverted, compared with eight (15%) of 55 inconsistent condom users. When person-years at risk were considered, the rate for HIV transmission among couples reporting consistent condom use was 1.1 per 100 person-years of observation, compared with 9.7 among inconsistent users [emphasis added]."


Any way you look at it, 98.9% effectiveness is pretty darn good.

The Pope was blatantly irresponsible for making a wholly unsubstantiated statement against the effectiveness of condoms, choosing to place greater emphasis on "saving souls" rather than saving lives. Therein lies the inherent harmfulness and weakness of organized religions - the very dogma they use to propagate themselves.

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How will the Pope know about using condom? Has he tried it? If not, why should he be the one to be giving that advice. Religion itself is good but when it comes to the extreme it's not good anymore. How about fair thinking, condom wasn't available at the time and God didn't make them when He created man (and later woman). The simple answer is when 'sex' is meant for and used for pleasure alone then to avoid the other issue that the so-called religious people are so concerned about - abortion - has to be allowed to an extent. Therefore shouldn't same sex marriage be their anwer for less 'abortion'. Didn't they say that "you can't have the cake and eat it too?"

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Skip: The virus is small enough to fit though those microscopic holes in most condoms - unless they have changed in the last ten years.

I don't think so. This is true with the skin, intestine, or membrane condoms, but not latex, and most condoms are latex.

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likeitis: I'll check with some of my old friends... I am no longer in the med field. But that was what we were taught in the 90's. Perhaps it was those that were distributed to soldiers when we went to countries where, well you know, places the pope surely wouldn't approve of..

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condom wasn't available at the time and God didn't make them when He created man (and later woman).

Obviously God did not want man to use condoms then. And that explains why the Pope either walks everywhere he goes or rides a donkey. NOT!

That old "wasted seed on the ground" quote had only to do with a guy who refused to properly consummate a wedding he did not want. But it was law to do so, and he was chastised for not properly consummating the wedding, not for wasting the seed. It is the most sensible of the figurative interpretations. And the literal one is even more ridiculous.

Consider the fact that it is not one seed but MILLIONS. With all that waste NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, I don't think God is all that worried about it. But God does want you to obey the laws of your people.

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Maybe the pope should revise his statements that The religious people in africa do as the pope say by not using condoms except the abstinence part. There was something in the bible of go forth and procreate

Skip? From what age do you use condoms 1890's condoms do protect 100% against pregnancy if you open the package with your teeth

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I thought that the reason that condoms do not protect 100% was because they sometimes break, they are sometimes not used properly, and they sometimes come off - not that I ever experienced any of these situations.

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Most men dislike using a condom & sadly given the chance will not use one. Now this idiot pope has given the African man an excuse, as if he ever needed one, to not use a condom. It would be interesting, though impossible to calculate, to know just how many people are going to actually die because of this fools message to the people of Africa. We naturally reason that when a religion advocates strapping explosives on one self & then killing one self & as many none-believers as being a bad religion, yet the popes message could very likely kill far more innocent people. Reasoning, just how many people can one infected person eventually kill by spreading their infection? More I am sure than any suicide bomber could kill. Perhaps this is the context that the popes massage should be seen in. ebisen at 05:29 PM JST - 18th March You are getting into a “no win” situation. The child protection agency that runs this site will delete &/or edit you (& me). Over the last year or so the “moderation” on this site as become arbitrary & excessive, & as an unimportant contributor to the comments you have no right to ask “why”. Get used to it or go elsewhere is what their silence tells you because they have sufficient numbers that accept this situation & so have the numbers needed to keep their advertisers happy. The advertisers matter, you & I don’t.

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dennis0bauer:Skip? From what age do you use condoms 1890's condoms do protect 100% against pregnancy if you open the package with your teeth

Dennis, you confused, sort of like the Pope. He was not speaking of preventing pregnancy. Skip was speaking of preventing AIDS.

In the same way, the Vatican's original opposition to condoms was all about preventing pregnancy. And they are not about to set themselves up to appear to be not omniscient after all now that we know condoms also prevent AIDS.

Either that or those people think AIDS is a gift from God that will eliminate unbelievers.

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The statement that condoms won't solve the AIDS crisis is technically accurate. Condoms alone will do precious little after the uneducated masses of Africa decide that they lesson the sexual experience and discard them for good. Education and, indeed, abstinance would be the more effective options.

If you need proof just look at the U.S, a country where condoms are as readily available as candy in gas stations and supermarkets and yet from 2006 to 2007 the number of people with AIDS increased by over 20,000.

But after reading some of the above posts I think any post not in line with the 'religion is evil and therefore Pope is wrong' motif will probably fall on deaf ears. Honestly, this is just another round of bashing on religion.

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They will if used properly. By which I mean using them to gag anti-contraception advocates.

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TheQuestion said:

Condoms alone will do precious little after the uneducated masses of Africa decide that they lesson [lessen] the sexual experience and discard them for good. Education and, indeed, abstinance [abstinence] would be the more effective options.

Ah yes the brilliance of the christian right condoms won't work because they lessen the the sexual experience but abstinence doesn't lessen the sexual experience so it will work.

Who is bashing religion? I am bashing faulty logic.

If you need proof just look at the U.S, a country where condoms are as readily available as candy in gas stations and supermarkets and yet from 2006 to 2007 the number of people with AIDS increased by over 20,000.

Nothing like a false dichotomy to prove the unprovable. TheQuestion does not leave open the possibility that the usage of condoms can result in a third possibility or more. He proposes that: If condom use worked Aids would go down or if condom use did not work aids would go up. Yet there is the possibility that condom use does work and that aids is not rising nearly as quickly as if condoms were not used. Wouldn't it stand to reason that if condoms did not work then America and Africa would have the same rate of infection? Of course maybe they want you to believe that Africans are more susceptible to HIV infection. Of course you can easily say that TheQuestion's faulty logic lies more in the wrongful assumption of cause and effect. I would not debate that but he posses the options in dichotomic opposition so I chose to throw some light on the fact that there are more outcomes than proposed.

Let see you can't do a study to find what the impact would be if you took away condoms completely. Because of that you can never truly have a blind study. But true statistical analysis really has no place when you are preaching from your soapbox, now does it, TheQuestion?

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The only sure way to stop the spread of AIDS is abstinence. Even abstinence will not wipe out AIDS completely, but will help to get it under control. Interestingly enough, several longevity studies show that abstinence does make the heart grow fonder. Those practicing premarital abstinence rank as the lowest population group for divorce.


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No, of course condoms don't work only abstinence works. Well at least Benedict is true to the church: preach your dogma and stick your head in the sand to reality. I have less than no use for the Catholic church they have done more damage than good throughout their history. By the by any Montey Python fans in the house sing it with me "Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great, when a sperm is wasted god gets quite irrate"

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I don't think anyone here believes that condoms are the 100% foolproof answer to the AIDS epidemic in Africa, and as easy as it would be to turn this into a “religion sucks” rant, that really isn’t the sole substance of most posters’ disagreement with the Pope’s statement. I think what most are taking issue with (and forgive me if I'm misrepresenting anyone) is that the Pope claimed that not only were condoms ineffective, but that they could potentially make the situation worse. How this is possible is beyond me, but he said it, couched in the suggestion that pious abstinence, i.e., "a responsible and moral attitude toward sex," would combat the problem. Whose morals should Africans follow exactly, if not those of the Church, an entity that is staunchly against artificial contraception, and advocates, of all things, the withdrawal method (a more dangerous method of avoiding the contraction or spread of AIDS I cannot imagine).

One of the most disturbing facets of AIDS in Africa is that it is being passed along among families. Infected husbands are spreading the disease to their wives, and their wives are in turn passing the disease on to their children. Following the Pope's suggestions regarding fidelity and abstinence outside of marriage, how does this address an aspect of AIDS that is slowly killing off entire future generations of Africans? How does discouraging condom use among married couples prevent AIDS?

”If you need proof just look at the U.S, a country where condoms are as readily available as candy in gas stations and supermarkets and yet from 2006 to 2007 the number of people with AIDS increased by over 20,000.”

Actually, the most recent numbers for HIV incidence, i.e., the number of new cases of HIV, is closer to 56,000 in the US. But the flaw in your rationale is evident in the one-sided data you cite. The United States, where education and information about HIV are readily available and disseminated to the majority of Americans, resulted in a flattening out of the overall incident rate among the general population. In Africa, however, where education and information are simply not there, HIV incidence has continued to climb and is incomparably higher than in the United States.

To drive home the significance difference in numbers here, the number of new infections among children alone in sub-Saharan Africa was 570,000 cases in 2007. That’s ten times the number of new infections in the U.S. among all demographics. If you need proof that education and condoms have a positive impact on the number of new cases, then start with these numbers first instead of just citing one isolated aspect of statistics in the AIDS epidemic.

When used properly and consistently, condoms are very nearly 100% effective in protecting from exposure to bodily fluid-borne STDs, like HIV. Of this, there is no doubt. If you know of any study that indicates differently, please, do everyone a favor and cite it. But as it stands, I’m sticking with information provided by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the United Nations.

Education of this sort, the kind that tells Africans that THIS is how you stem the tide of AIDS among your friends and families when there is no cure, will prompt more Africans to use condoms. Which will in turn result in fewer new cases and consequently fewer needless deaths. It’s simple math and reasonable logic that has borne out in numerous countries around the world, including the U.S. Case in point regarding the damage lack of education regarding prevention and proper condom usage, just take a look at the rising number of HIV cases in Japan. The Wolrd Health Organization has warned that Japan may very well be the next hot spot for explosion of new cases due to the relative ignorance of young people who practice unsafe sex regularly, under the idiotic assumption that AIDS is a foreign disease. I didn’t make this statement up. WHO did. I just added the “idiotic” embellishment.

But telling Africans such an outrageous lie as “condoms only make the problem worse” will almost guarantee that those African with AIDS now, not tomorrow or ten years from now, but NOW, will continue to have unprotected sex, continue to spread the disease, and continue to die off in droves, as they have been consistently for the past 20 years.

The horse has already left the proverbial barn as far as lack of fidelity is concerned, so what next? Let those who chose not to obey someone else's moral code die off, and take their wives and children with them? Is the Pope simply writing off this generation in order to lay the groundwork for proselytizing the survivors?

What of men or women who are AIDS carriers as a result of infection from unfaithful spouses? Had their spouses used condoms, they would have been protected. What of women who are infected due to rape? How will they protect their husbands other that vowing eternal celibacy? What of children who have become infected from birth to infected mothers? How will the Church or good morals protect and save them when they go out into the world to have families of their own? Finally, what of those who are fortunate enough to not be infected right now? What do they do when faced with a potentially unfaithful spouse who is infected?

Church dogma regarding the sanctity of “The Seed” and the assumedly inviolable nature of human reproduction isn’t quite designed to deal with something as virulent and dangerous as AIDS. It wasn’t up to the task when the Plague was ravaging Europe, and it isn’t up to the task now.

Benedict on the one hand, declares that, “a Christian can never remain silent in the face of violence, poverty, hunger, corruption or abuse of power.”

But then he muddies the waters with “The saving message of the Gospel needs to be proclaimed loud and clear so that the light of Christ can shine into the darkness of people’s lives.”

In light of the multitude of human catastrophes that are devastating many areas of Africa right now, he needs to either find some way to reconcile the two messages, or decide which is more important, because here, now, today, preaching the Gospel isn’t going to stop the spread of AIDS, no matter how loudly or clearly one proclaims it.

A third option is for Benedict to stay out of it and allow better informed people, like the nuns and priests who actually live and work day-by-day and side-by-side with AIDS carriers, do what they already know works.

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LFRAgain at 12:39 PM JST - 19th March

You leave nothing that needs saying. Thank you.

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My my somehow my little post gave rise to a few Danielle Steel length novels. At most I was hoping for a few quips at my spelling or some misguided attempts to convince me of my gross lapse in ethical fiber but the above posts exceeded even my wildest expectations.

But, in all seriousness, the Pope should really listen to his commanders on the ground on this one. Maybe consult with Desmond Tutu on the matter. God knows I love the Pope but he would be better off giving sermons in the Vatican.

Thank you for playing, cheers.

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" . . . gave rise to a few Danielle Steel length novels."

If that were the case, we would have thrown in a bronzed, swarthy, mystery man and a woman finding love when she least expected it.

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