Combating HIV/AIDS in Brazil ‘No Place for Religious Taboos,’ Miami Herald Editorial Says
The "scientific community has long accepted that condoms are an effective tool against the spread" of HIV, and the "experience of Brazil bears this out," a Miami Herald editorial says (Miami Herald, 12/12). Dr. Alexandre Grangeiro, director of Brazil's National STD/AIDS Programme, on Friday sent an open letter to the Catholic Church criticizing the church's attempts to quash a campaign aimed at promoting condom use to prevent HIV infection. Grangeiro said that the church's attempts to discredit condoms' effectiveness in preventing HIV "could not go unchallenged," adding, "We don't want to stir up controversy, but when the church tries to shut down discussion about condoms and claims to use scientific criteria to show they don't work, we have to clarify the facts." In the letter, Grangeiro said, "The church is wrong to insist that condoms don't protect and could be committing one more crime against humanity." Church leaders have said that abstinence and fidelity within marriage are the best ways to fight the disease. Currently, more than 80% of Brazil's 178 million people report being Catholic, and 600,000 Brazilians are HIV-positive (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/11). "The fight to prevent AIDS is no place for religious taboos," the editorial says, concluding, "Instead of concentrating only on those suffering from the disease, the church should join hands with the governments to endorse preventive measures that would reduce the number of [people living with HIV/AIDS] and the level of suffering everywhere" (Miami Herald, 12/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.