Winner 2013 Webby Awards for Best Political Website
Top Banner, Site wide
Apr 20, 2014

 Choose a size
Text Size

Top Leaderboard, Site wide

First Solar Bread Oven Takes a Bow
Drought Adds to Syria’s Misery

The Divide

Truthdig Bazaar
Why Americans Hate Politics

Why Americans Hate Politics

By E.J. Dionne

more items

Ear to the Ground

Pope: Condoms Don’t Help in Fight Against AIDS

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Mar 17, 2009
Pope on a plane
AP photo / Andrew Medichini

Pope on a plane: Benedict XVI, flanked by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarciso Bertone, left, and his spokesman. Father Federico Lombardi, talks at a press conference Tuesday. The pontiff was en route to Cameroon.

On his way to his first visit to Africa, Pope Benedict XVI told attendant members of the press that he believes encouraging condom use not only doesn’t help in the fight against AIDS, but actually worsens the situation. 

Times Online:

In his first public comments on condom use, the pontiff told reporters en route to Cameroon that Aids “is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems”.

Pope Benedict has previously stressed that the Roman Catholic Church is in the forefront of the battle against Aids. The Vatican encourages sexual abstinence to fight the spread of the disease.

After his election as Pope, Benedict described Aids as a “a cruel epidemic which not only kills but seriously threatens the economic and social stability of the continent”, but reiterated the Vatican ban on the use of condoms.

Read more

More Below the Ad


Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By acitizen, April 23, 2009 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

First the references.
UNAIDS. 2004 Report on the global AIDS epidemic, page.72
Preferred sources of condoms among young men in Kampal, Uganda.  KamyM, Kapiriri L, Kamy S, Biryabarema C, Kajubi P, Hearst N, McFarland W, International Conference on AIDS.

Now the analysis.
In 1995, sexually experienced teenage men ages 15-17 had a sexual activity rate of 33%.  In 1995 the 18 and 19 year-old men who were sexually experienced had a sexual activity rate of 58%.  Then the barriers to condom use were lowered.  Perhaps co-incidentally, the rates of sexual activity among sexually experienced teenagers rose to 120% or 125% of the pre-intervention levels. 

The only group that benefited from the lowered barriers was married women and men, who used condoms more, but that may have been because the proportion of married men with MULTIPLE PARTNERS increased among some age groups.

Now the conclusion.
The pope was not only telling the truth about what he believed, he was right.

Report this
photoshock's avatar

By photoshock, March 19, 2009 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Why does the world listen to an outdated and outmoded person such as the current pope? His plan of action is to take the church and the world back to the Middle and Dark Ages, when, the Roman Church held sway over the known Western World.
We are now beyond the need for a ‘father figure’ such as he is, we do not need his ‘teachings’ on sexuality, morality and most of all theology. He is completely out of touch with the 21st Century, and more than this, has no idea of the harm he causes when he speaks ex-cathedra.  He speaks for the most ineffectual of all faiths, and does not even know it.
I am appalled at his suggestion that condom use does not protect against disease. Does he not know that without condoms, more and more people will die from diseases that can be controlled with condom use. Or is he privy to knowledge that us laity do not know?
He must have listened to the lie, that states the Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus is “500” times smaller than the holes in latex condoms.
Why in the hell do we allow such men, to make grand pronouncements such as this, without any regard for the people of the world, who, by reason of their association with the Roman Catholic Church will do exactly what he says without question? 
I rage against the machine, I am catholic, universal,
not Roman Catholic anymore. For me to have taken this
step was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, for
I live in a very rural area, and do not have any support group of progressive and like-minded people.
This man, and he is a man, has sinned against the world with this pronouncement. He has taken the lid off Pandora’s box, and allowed the worst of the demons to come out, and all this from the mouth of someone who, does not even care about the children and women who are beset with the worst of diseases known to mankind.
If a person, needs a teacher, a guide, they should seriously think about the Dalai Lama. A man, who has contact with a different world, but still lives in the 21st Century. His books and speeches are more enlightening and meaningful than any of the writings and speeches of the Pope. Consider carefully who you listen to, in this time of global crisis, we need such men as the Dalai Lama, who can show us how to gain peace and tranquility through practices of love and concern for our fellow man.
Give PEACE A CHANCE! Peace out!

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, March 19, 2009 at 4:15 am Link to this comment

The Pope is a twit lost in fairy-tale land.  Going to Africa and saying “abstinence is the only way to prevent aids” is like telling lions to stop eating meat. (up there on the dumbness scale with trying to teach a pig to sing…you waste your time and annoy the pig).

Meanwhile, IN AFRICA, two of the most simple and elegant solutions to reducing AIDS and HIV have been:

1) The A-B-C plan started in Uganda—in order, be Abstinent, Be Faithful, Use a Condom.  Pope Pollyanna never got past A.

2) Male Circumcision.  This has shown empirically to reduce transmission of the infection by 40%-60%. UNFORTUNATELY, men who have been circumcised in response to this (now the hottest surgery in Africa) have assumed they could then ABANDON A-B-C….BIGGG mistake!

Report this

By Old Ed Of The Delta, March 18, 2009 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

The Pope now says that if you are instrumental in the passing out of rubbers in the attempt to eradicate AIDS in Africa you run the risk of excommunication and the wrath of God for this alleged sin.

It would make more sense to me if the church was more interested in the condemnation of the drug cartels in Mexico with excommunication than worrying about some poor Africans using a form of disease prevention. 

I just can’t see how one of the worlds religious leaders can be so insensitive to this terrible human plight.

Report this

By diamond, March 18, 2009 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

Ratboy strikes again! He’s celibate you see. So everyone has to be celibate. Makes sense, doesn’t it? And if you’re not celibate,you’re a sinner so you deserve to die of aids, especially if you’re poor and black. Send in the cats. Condoms are the work of the devil - you heard it here first.

Report this

By JFoster2k, March 18, 2009 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

The refusal to endorse condom use is the blind ideology that once again highlights how religious dogma supersedes basic human decency.

The “Abstinence Only” teen pregnancy prevention program in the US has been definitively denounced as not only ineffective in stemming the tide of unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STD’s, statistical data reveals that it is actually linked to an increase in unprotected oral and anal sex.

“Just Say No” didn’t work with drug use. Why in hell would anyone think it could possibly curb the biological drive to have sex?! We are hardwired to reproduce. These programs and the religious dogma behind them are absurd.

Their phobia surrounding condom education is no surprise. Conservatives and the religious right have a vested interest in keeping people ignorant. This maintains the public dependence upon these ideologues to know what to think.

Report this

By Sage in Zion, March 18, 2009 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who cares what the old putz says?  I say you can’t trust a man who wears dresses and red shoes in public.

Report this

By Folktruther, March 18, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

with power figures like pope ratso, it’s no wonder that people believe in the anti-Christ. some contries of Afrcia has a huge fraction of their population HV positive.  ratso’s policies are increasing it.

Report this

By SteveM, March 18, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All religious leaders live in a fairytale fantasy world.  They have no grasp of reality at all.  What the world needs is better education, especially in the sciences.  Maybe then people will stop clinging to archaic old myths and superstitions.  But probably not…. It’s sad that so many ignorant people in the world turn to dimwits like the pope for guidance.

Report this

By richard roe, March 18, 2009 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In other news, the U.S. surgeon general said prayer is absolutely worthless when it comes to addressing disease.

In still other news, the vatican is contracting the construction of a giant needle sculpture so that their popes and bishops will be able to ride a camel through it.

Report this

By mud, March 18, 2009 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

The earth is flat.

Report this

By JFoster2k, March 18, 2009 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

We continue to harvest the rotten fruits of religious dogma. The twisted “moral” imperitive employed by these irrational manipulators of the masses continues to threaten the wellbeing of humanity and we, as a species, gobble it up like pudding.

This genocidal sexual repression is particularily dreadful when you consider that in 2 of the 4 gospels there is no mention of a “virgin birth” and in the other 2 the writers, when referring to Mary, use a term more appropriately translated as “young woman” than “virgin”. This sexual phobia was created by the early Church, not as a mandate from the Bible (read “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris).

When will we finally relegate our last few gods to their rightful place in mythology along side Zeus, Poseidon, Thor and Ra?

Report this

By Han, March 18, 2009 at 5:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The results of abstination are also long known. Men start raping children and women. And murdering to avoid being prosecuted. I’ve once managed a week without sex and I noticed myself becoming totally sex-driven. Really, the catholic church is hell bent on making us a lot of very unhappy people by doing everything in it’s power to stigmatize anything related to a primal instinct, with known results!
Our sexual energy must be cherished!

Report this
Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, March 18, 2009 at 5:14 am Link to this comment

Can’t Gas ‘em so exterminate them through the spread of Fatal Diseases ah, Ya Lil’ Geezer Nazi!!
I left the sociopathic Church decades ago- but did not have as much distain for John Paul as I have for this P.O.S.!!
Could anyone still think this man ever recinded his membership to the Nazi party?
While the world is in chaos all around him, people are litterally starving to death, his main concern is the Use of Condoms?
Not only do they protect from AIDS, they also are the oldest form of Birth control, after Withdrawl (which Does not Work). This is proof these Religious groups have no interest in reducing or eliminating abortions- the best way to do that would be to reduce or elminate the unwanted pregnacies to begin with!!!Worse yet these unwanted pregnancies not only lead to overpopualtion leading to starvation, but also abuse & neglect.
Seems to me this Pope is hell bent on perpetuating Human suffering!Any surprise he Reinstated Holocaust Deniers? Is he hoping his beloved Facist movement comes back in Vogue?RATZ is a walk, breathing Atrocity!
Frankly the Entire so called ‘Religious’ communities have proven repeatedly the are Satan Worshippers and Servants. One only need to review their long histories of Slaughter to Recognize who they Revere. These Religious fanatic have broken as many Commandments as the Bushies broke Constitutional Laws. If the warnings about Horsemen of the Apocalypse has any merits, Religion is the First one leading the charge against humanity.They have perpetuated more Wars than any other, leading to injustice, disease and famine- they are the Pestulance which plagues the World.

Report this

By purplewolf, March 18, 2009 at 1:28 am Link to this comment

Are people to take serious, the point of view from this former Nazi, whose own church has paid out billions of dollars to the victims of molestation by its very own priests?

And BTW somewhere, someone, stated that the Pope was a virgin, do we really know this for certain and who really wants to know this? I don’t. But this is the last person to give advice on something he obviously know nothing. His answer to over population, lack of jobs etc, is to have more babies. Condom use-bad, infecting more people with AIDS-good.

Not all AIDS is transmitted sexually. Take those who work in the medical field. In many cases these workers are not allowed to know if a patient has AIDS. Some patients become violent and injure medical workers, like those strung out on drugs and can cut, scratch or bite a worker, or there is also unintended punctures that happen also working in that line of employment. I know that one first hand.

What about Ryan White, the hemophiliac child, who probably never had sex in his life, became infected from a blood transfusion. How would the Pope defend his ill thought out idea that abstinence only is the only way to keep the spread of AIDS at bay.

Even if a married couple is faithful to one another and one is infected, they can still infect their partner and any future children they may create. Is it better to infect your spouse and any babies you might have? I don’t think so, but evidently the Pope thinks it is better to do so than prevent another case of a devastating disease. I believe his motto for this illness, once called God’s punishment for homosexuality, is “The more the merrier.”

Out of touch with reality on all fronts. time for thisd one to retire.

Report this
Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, March 18, 2009 at 1:01 am Link to this comment

Quote: ““is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems”.

“The WHO said that “consistent and correct” condom use reduces the risk of HIV infection by 90 per cent.”


Don’t you be “evil” and use a condom, well…unless of course your spouse is RAPING you…..!  THEN of course it might be a lesser “evil” for “good girls”.

Did you catch that…, “Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan of Mexico, the Vatican Health Minister, also said condoms could sometimes be “exceptionally condoned”, for example when a married woman was unable to refuse her HIV-positive husband’s sexual advances.”(emphasis mine)

Gee honey… before you rape me “be kind, and please unwind” (that condom, of course).

The pope and his minions need their GOD DAMNED heads examined.  And I mean that quite literally… their, undeniable GOD DAMNED heads!

Report this

By geronimo, March 17, 2009 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why pay any attention to what the pontiff says about condoms and AIDS?  After all, isn’t Benedict XVI the latest successor to the infamous Urban VIII, the one who tortured Galileo for daring to say that the sun, not the earth was the center of the universe?  Goes to show how absolutism can make nincompoops of the high and mighty.

Report this

sign up to get updates

Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.