Condom campaigners protest at the Vatican against Pope’s Aids comments’s website reporter Nick Squires on 23 March reported “Condom campaigners protest at the Vatican against Pope’s Aids comments“. The protests were spawned by remarks the Pope made earlier that condoms were not the answer to Africa’s fight against HIV.

“The Pope’s extremely serious and irresponsible words are even further removed from reality when we consider that condoms are unanimously and scientifically recognised as the principal means of Aids prevention,” said gay rights campaigner Mario Mieli.

So, how far removed from reality are his remarks? What makes them the “principal means” to prevent AIDS?

The CDC says in “Male Latex Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases” (emphasis added):

Consistent and correct use of male latex condoms can reduce (though not eliminate) the risk of STD transmission. To achieve the maximum protective effect, condoms must be used both consistently and correctly. Inconsistent use can lead to STD acquisition because transmission can occur with a single act of intercourse with an infected partner. Similarly, if condoms are not used correctly, the protective effect may be diminished even when they are used consistently. The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.

The FDA says in “Condom Brochure” (emphasis added):

The surest way to avoid these diseases is to not have sex altogether (abstinence). Another way is to limit sex to one partner who also limits his or her sex in the same way (monogamy). Condoms are not 100% safe, but if used properly, will reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS. Protecting yourself against the AIDS virus is of special concern becuase [sic] this disease is fatal and has no cure.

Further down, the FDA says, “In other words, sex with condoms isn’t totally “safe sex,” but it is “less risky” sex.” It then states, “The package should say that the condoms are to prevent disease [emphasis theirs]. If the package doesn’t say anything about preventing disease, the condoms may not provide the protection you want, even though they may be the most expensive ones you can buy.” There also can be problems if they have been improperly stored and subjected to extreme temperatures.

So, let’s review: If the type is the correct condom, and if they were stored properly, and if they are used correctly, and if they are used consistently, then they might prevent STDs. So, are the Pope’s remarks so off-based given this?

Oh, and although condoms have been found to provide “protection” against HPV, the study still found that they were 70% less likely to contract HPV! “Exactly how some women acquired HPV if their partners always used condoms remains unknown. In fact, all of those in this particular group also reported no genital contact without a condom.” HPV has been linked to cervical cancer and sterility. A 70% reduction still means 30% still contract it! That’s “prevention”?!

If that’s the definition of “prevention”, I wonder what the definition of “scientifically recognized prevention” might mean.

God’s way of life is often viewed as stifling, but it is really intended to provide for the maximum amount of joy. A life of suffering from incurable STDs is not what God intended. Instead, He designed sex to be enjoyed within the confines of monogamous marriage, in a non-threatening (physically, emotionally and spiritually) environment of love. Does that sound stifling to you? Or, is it stifling to be taking expensive drugs to ward off various diseases that a tired immune system can no longer cope with?


  1. John D Carmack

    An interesting post about this can also be found on titled "Pope was right to challenge the cult of the condom" [broken link removed by admin] by Colleen Carroll Campbell.

    A sample:

    As Green explained last year in an article for First Things, "In every African country in which HIV infections have declined, this decline has been associated with a decrease in the proportion of men and women reporting more than one sex partner over the course of a year — which is exactly what fidelity programs promote. The same association with HIV decline cannot be said for condom use, coverage of HIV testing, treatment for curable sexually transmitted infections, provision of antiretroviral drugs, or any other intervention or behavior."

    The only other behavior often associated with a drop in HIV rates, Green said, is "a decline in premarital sex among young people." He concluded: "What the churches are inclined to do anyway" — promote sexual abstinence before marriage and fidelity afterward — "turns out to be what works best in AIDS prevention."

    The poster child for this approach is Uganda, an African nation that has seen tremendous success in lowering HIV rates by using the "ABC" approach — defined as, "Abstain, Be faithful or use Condoms." Peer-reviewed literature shows that the key to Uganda's success "was not increased condom use but reductions in the number of sexual partners," Green wrote.

  2. John D Carmack

    The press keeps rolling on this one. It only proves how many people just don't get it:

    The arrogant Richard Dawkins says Pope is 'stupid' according to the Telegraph on 1 Apr. He said, "I wonder on what basis anyone can say condoms make Aids worse. The Pope is either stupid, ignorant or dim."

    Pope 'distorted' science in condom row, says Lancet on 27 Mar.

    So, I find myself in the odd position of defending what the Pope said.

    Let's see, is it unscientific because having sex outside of a monogamous relationship by both parties is one of the fastest ways to get AIDS? Is it unscientific because there is a cause and effect?

    Yeah, I guess it is stupid to avoid behavior that could kill you. While we are at it, let's revoke laws requiring seatbelts and car seats for infants because they're pretty stupid too.

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