|PROTEST AT THE VATICAN MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS|
|October 29th, 2003
Vatican Mission to the U.N.
25 E. 39th Street, New York City
ACT UP's GIANT CONDOMS PROTEST VATICAN LIE ABOUT HIV PREVENTION
The claims are made in a Panorama programme called Sex and the Holy City to be screened on BBC One on Sunday. It says cardinals, bishops, priests and nuns in four continents are saying HIV can pass through tiny holes in condoms.
The World Health Organization has condemned the comments and warned the Vatican it is putting lives at risk. The claims come just a day after a report revealed that a young person is now infected with HIV every 14 seconds.
" The statements are totally incorrect.
Latex condoms are impermeable.
They do prevent HIV transmission."
.-- Catherine Hankins, Chief Scientific Advisor to UNAids
The cardinal, who is president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, suggests that governments should urge people not to use condoms. "These margins of uncertainty...should represent an obligation on the part of the health ministries and all these campaigns to act in the same way as they do with regard to cigarettes, which they state to be a danger." The programme includes a Catholic nun advising her HIV-infected choir master not to use condoms with his wife because "the virus can pass through". The Archbishop of Nairobi Raphael Ndingi Nzeki told Panaroma that condoms were helping to spread the virus. "Aids...has grown so fast because of the availability of condoms," he said.
In Kenya, one in five people are HIV positive
"Some priests have even been
saying that condoms are
laced with HIV/Aids"
.-- Gordon Wambi, Aids activist
and this new story
June 29, 2004
Vatican's Denial That Condoms Protect Against HIV Endangering Millions of Africans, European Commissioner Says
European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Poul Nielson on Sunday on BBC1's "Panorama" program said that the Vatican's position denying that condoms can effectively protect against HIV is "bringing into great danger the lives of millions" in Africa, BBC News reports. Colombian Cardinal Alfonso Trujillo, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, recently published a paper claiming that HIV can pass through condoms, according to BBC News. Trujillo supported his claims using "scientific references" (Devichand, BBC News, 6/27). Trujillo said in a previous episode of "Panorama," titled "Sex and the Holy City," which aired in October 2003, "The AIDS virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the 'net' that is formed by the condom. These margins of uncertainty ... should represent an obligation on the part of the health ministries and all these campaigns to act in the same way as they do with regard to cigarettes, which they state to be a danger" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/22). In response to Trujillo's statements, the World Health Organization said that although condoms can be less effective if they slip, break or are expired, a June 2001 review of the available literature on male condoms found that they are 90% effective at preventing HIV transmission if used consistently and properly (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/15/03). The Vatican prohibits the use of condoms for both contraception and protection against HIV infection, according to BBC News. Nielson said, "This is where bigotry gets into the big discussion," adding that the Vatican's position shows a "lack of love for human beings" and an "unwillingness to take their situation seriously," according to BBC News. The Vatican would not provide comment for the program, BBC News reports (BBC News 6/27).
The Vatican is "misguided" when it says that the "only realistic and long-lasting response to AIDS is a change in moral behavior," Austen Ivereigh, deputy editor of the international Catholic newspaper the Tablet, writes in an opinion piece in London's Guardian. Some Catholic aid groups say that HIV/AIDS in Africa must be combated by attacking the "roots" of the problem, including the sexual abuse of women and the lack of antiretroviral drug therapy, which they say can "break the cycle of stigma and despair which often lies behind the promiscuity and abusive behavior that cause AIDS to spiral," Ivereigh says. However, the Vatican's refusal to concede that using a condom "in some circumstances" may be "not just licit but obligatory" has "undermined" those efforts, Ivereigh says. The Vatican's "callous intransigence" on the issue of condom use to prevent HIV transmission has "muffled [the church's] own prophetic voice on AIDS and encouraged the conclusion that Christian teaching that can only be upheld at the cost of African lives does not deserve that name," Ivereigh concludes (Ivereigh, Guardian, 6/26).
THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY
|"Another abuse occurs whenever sex education is given to children
by teaching them all the intimate details of genital relationships, even in a
graphic way. Today this is often motivated by wanting to provide education
for 'safe sex', above all in relation to the spread of AIDS. In this
situation, parents must also reject the promotion of so-called 'safe sex'
or 'safer sex', a dangerous and immoral policy based on the deluded theory
that the condom can provide adequate protection against AIDS. Parents must
insist on continence outside marriage and fidelity in marriage as the only
true and secure education for the prevention of this contagious disease."
01 Dec 2003
Vatican defends anti-condom stand on AIDS Day
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY, Dec 1 (Reuters) - The Vatican on Monday issued a strong defence of its controversial position against condoms, saying fidelity, chastity and abstinence were the best ways to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in a "pan-sexualist society." A top cardinal issued a five-page statement on World AIDS Day to hammer home the Vatican's position, which has drawn criticism from many quarters.
In a message addressed to Catholics, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, called for new ways of helping people change lifestyles. "We have to present this as the main way for the effective prevention of infection and spread of HIV/AIDS, since the phenomenon of AIDS is a pathology of the spirit...," he said.
The Roman Catholic church opposes artificial contraception -- including condoms, which it says promote promiscuity. The five-page message spoke of the "importance of respecting the religious and moral values of sexuality and matrimony, namely fidelity, chastity and abstinence."
Barragan, who is Mexican, invited "each and every one to step up prevention according to the doctrine of the Church, to practice the virtue of chastity in a pan-sexualist society." He said AIDS campaigns should be based on "sure and authentic human and spiritual values, capable of establishing relevant education in favour of the culture of life and responsible love." In a clear reference to condoms, he said information campaigns should not be "based on policies that foster immoral and hedonistic lifestyles and behaviour, favouring the spread of the evil."
Two months ago, another top Vatican cardinal raised controversy even within the Church by saying that the HIV/AIDS virus could be spread even if condoms were used. Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, said that relying on condoms to stop AIDS was like "betting on your own death."
The World Health Organisation (WHO), guardian watchdog of global wellbeing, rejected that view, saying condoms can reduce the risk of infection by 90 percent. Lopez-Trujillo was also criticised by Brazil's health minister and AIDS activists.
In his message on Monday, Barragan also took a swipe at the media, suggesting that it promoted immoral lifestyles. "If the main risk behaviours are pan-sexualism and drug addiction, then poverty, urbanisation, unemployment, mobility immigration and mass media are major contributing factors in the spread of the disease," he said.
AIDS Activists Blast Vatican's Stance on Condoms
Tue 2 December, 2003 By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - AIDS activists, health officials and even some quarters of the Catholic Church criticized the Vatican on Tuesday for defending its opposition to condoms. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan said in a message to mark World Aids Day on Monday that fidelity, chastity and abstinence were the best ways to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
"It's very disappointing because the Catholic Church's irrational stance on condoms undermines the very good work that the Catholic Church does with regards to caring for people with HIV...," said Nathan Geffen in South Africa. Geffen, national manager of Treatment Action Campaign, South Africa's foremost group of AIDS activists, echoed comments by others who work with HIV/AIDS sufferers in Africa.
The Church opposes contraception, including condoms, which it says promote promiscuity. Criticism has increased as the number of AIDS victims soars. "By not supporting the use of condoms and not advocating the use of condoms as one of the preventative measures I would say that the Catholic Church is helping the spread of a deadly disease," Morten Rostrup, president of the international council of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), said in Nairobi. "We know condoms are one of the best ways of preventing the disease. We are surely not opposed to behavioral changes. But to advocate against the use of condoms as a preventative measure ... is totally unacceptable from a moral, ethical and medical perspective," he said.
In his message for World AIDS Day, Cardinal Barragan made a clear reference to condoms, saying information campaigns should not be "based on policies that foster immoral and hedonistic lifestyles and behavior, favoring the spread of the evil."
AIDS activists rejected this. "They should reconsider their position for the sake of us Africans and everyone else who has the disease," said Gitura Mwaura, chairman of Kenya Coalition for Access to Essential Medicines. "It's time they pulled their heads out of the sand because this is a serious situation. Promoting abstinence has to date not worked but condoms have provided some protection," he said.
While the Vatican was urging Catholics to shun condoms, a U.S. Catholic group was rebelling against the Vatican message. Catholics for a Free Choice, an independent organization, launched a global campaign called "Good Catholics Use Condoms." The campaign, launched on Monday in the Washington D.C. metro, includes posters that will not please the Vatican. Two show smiling young heterosexual couples above a message reading: "We believe in God. We believe that sex is sacred. We believe in caring for each other. We believe in using condoms." The group, which the Vatican says is not an official representation of Catholicism, also produced a booklet called: Sex in the HIV/AIDS Era -- A Guide for Catholics. "We cannot stand by and let the Vatican go unchallenged with its irresponsible attitude toward condoms and Catholics," said Frances Kisslings, the group's president. "Cardinals and bishops must promote a culture of life in which responsible sexuality and AIDS prevention are linked, not a culture of death which will result in more AIDS ravaged communities, especially in the developing world," she said.
(Additional reporting by William Maclean in Nairobi and Ed Stoddard in Johannesburg)
World Health Organization slams cardinal condom claim
From correspondents in Vatican City
THE UN health agency is strongly contesting the reported claim of a top Vatican cardinal that condoms don't properly protect against AIDS - a view that anti-HIV campaigners deny strongly. The Vatican has repeatedly opposed condoms as a way to fight AIDS, saying chastity is the best way to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. The Vatican has been criticised for its opposition, particularly in poor regions of the world devastated by AIDS.
The latest difference arose after Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, told the BBC the HIV virus is small enough to pass through a condom. The BBC released a partial transcript of his comments, some of which will be broadcast today in a documentary called Panorama - Sex and the Holy City. "The AIDS virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the 'net' that is formed by the condom," Lopez Trujillo is quoted as saying in the BBC interview late last month. "These margins of uncertainty should represent an obligation on the part of the health ministries and all these campaigns to act in the same way as they do with regard to cigarettes, which they state to be a danger."
A World Health Organisation spokeswoman said officials hadn't seen the BBC program yet, but said any claim that condoms don't protect against HIV is "totally wrong". "When you use a condom badly so that it breaks or slips or it is past its 'use-by date', it is not very effective," spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said. "Two years ago, in June 2001, there was a big study that reviewed all the literature on male condoms. This study showed that condoms are 90 per cent effective against HIV/AIDS infection, and the other 10 per cent is when they were used wrongly," Chaib said. "It is quite dangerous to claim the contrary when you realise that today we are facing an epidemic which has already killed 20 million people and 42 million people are infected today."
Lopez Trujillo told the BBC: "There are several doctors on our pontifical council, and these people have studied this matter, and they have also given instruction through various published articles, so we have not seen any denial of this fact at the level of medicine." When confronted with scientific research showing that intact condoms are an effective barrier against sexually transmitted diseases, Lopez Trujillo said: "They are wrong about that; this is an easily recognisable fact," according to the BBC.
Dr Thomas Quinn, an HIV expert speaking on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said several scientific studies show the virus cannot pass through condoms. "The mechanical barrier is 100 per cent except when there are tears or breaks, so they are absolutely incorrect," he said. "They are going to need to come up with scientific proof to prove that statement wrong because there is a multitude of publications that show that the virus cannot pass through the latex of the condom."
Lopez Trujillo had no immediate comment. Last year, the Vatican repeated its opposition to condoms. Monsignor Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Workers, acknowledged that to some, the Vatican position may sound "ridiculous in the society in which we live". But he said there was only one way to prevent AIDS and the HIV virus from spreading. "We say that prevention ... is called chastity." The church has argued that condoms don't offer 100 per cent protection and only contribute to what Barragan called a "pan-sexual" society in which sex has been separated into an act of pleasure or procreation.
|Regarding the death of Pope John Paul II, we are sorry Karol Wojtyla did not live long enough to change the Church Dogma affecting people around the world, putting them at greater risk for HIV/AIDS.|