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The Vatican and condoms

by Bradford McIntyre

Published in: Catholics for Choice - Conscience Magazine - 2005-06-22

    We know many of our youth are having sex and will have sex in the future. To teach abstinence without including education on the need for a condom and how to use a condom will lead to more HIV and STD infections. Around the world the use of condoms is seen as a trusted weapon in the prevention of HIV infection. However, these efforts are often hampered by religious beliefs.

President Bush has clearly given preferential treatment by providing funding to HIV/AIDS groups and organizations which promote abstinence over those promoting the use of condoms. The Catholic hierarchy refuses to recognize the harm the Catholic church is causing with its refusal to promote condom use in the prevention of my and AIDS. HIV+ individuals have even been told by priests and nuns that they should not use condoms. Religious leaders who forcefully encourage abstinence have stopped campaigns promoting the use of condoms. Condoms may not be preferred but the reality is they are now necessary. The use of condoms saves lives and condoms work to prevent the further spread of HIV.

We know that individuals who are told they must refrain from sex or make pledges of abstinence are very often ill prepared and a condom is not used when they do engage in sex. As a result, they may become infected. We also know that we cannot rely on the pledge of fidelity. Many women and men who considered themselves to be in a monogamous relationship were infected by their spouse. This is clearly evident now with the increase of HIV infections among married women. Knowledge of and the use of a condom is necessary in relationships. Responsible sexual conduct means using a condom and if this is not being taught then many more people will be infected with HIV. We will not see change in the HIV/AIDS pandemic until the use of condoms is a standard practice for all.

Bradford McIntyre
www.PositivelyPositive.ca
Vancouver, Canada

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