Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Catholics for a Free Choice Ad Calls on Catholic Church To Lift Ban on Condoms for HIV Prevention
Catholics for a Free Choice on Tuesday in response to recent statements from a Roman Catholic Church official that condoms do not protect against HIV transmission published an advertisement in the Washington Post calling for the Catholic Church to lift its ban on the use of condoms for HIV prevention (CFFC ad, 11/11). Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, said in an episode of BBC1's "Panorama" program, titled "Sex and the Holy City," which aired on Oct. 12, "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." The Vatican, which is opposed to artificial contraception, has consistently refused to encourage the use of condoms to prevent HIV transmission (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/22). The ad says that scientists and public health officials have called the Vatican's claims false and that it is important for the Catholic Church to develop an AIDS policy that "not only cares for those with HIV/AIDS but prevents its transmission." The ad concludes, "It's time for [Catholic bishops] to reject bad science and bad religion" and to "lift the ban on condoms" (CFFC ad, 11/11). The ad is part of a larger public education campaign, titled "Good Catholics Use Condoms," which CFFC is running this week during the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C. The campaign also includes an ad in the National Catholic Reporter; the distribution of information packets on the ban to all U.S. senators and to representatives who serve on committees that deal with AIDS legislation; and a sign-on letter to be delivered to Bishop Wilton Gregory, head of the USCCB, during the meeting (CFFC release, 11/7).
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