AIDS, Africa and the Catholic Church

There is no denying that the AIDS pandemic is still a serious issue in Africa. There is also no denying that the Church's stance on the use of condoms has come under attack by those acting in an effort to bring the spread of the disease under control. Recently, one scientist came on the scene to back up what the Holy Father has been saying all along - condoms may actually contribute to the spread of the disease, not the prevention of it.

Uh...what? Yes, I know, it doesn't seem a logical statement at first glance. The researcher, however, was pointing out the psychological, rather than physical, attributes of promoting condom use as a remedy. Promoting the use of condoms for "safe sex" gave people an unwarranted confidence in the safety of engaging in sexual behavior so long as a condom was used, increasing the likelihood that they would be less careful, and increasing the possibility of spreading the disease. Likewise, it was shown that in countries where the cultural attitudes toward sex were first addressed, efforts to decrease the spread of the disease was far more effective. (Read the full article here)

More recently, a delegate of US Bishops visited South Africa and saw firsthand the effect the church-run programs were having on those affected by HIV/AIDS. In a great example of how church and state can effectively work together, the Bishops visited with the staff of the US embassy in Swaziland to arrange for US government funding of these church-run programs. "The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, provides extensive funds for the AIDS projects run by the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, which includes the bishops of Swaziland, South Africa and Botswana."

To read more on the work being done by the diocesan clinics visited by the Bishops, read the full article at Catholic News Service.