Spread of HIV Would Not Slow in Africa if Catholic Church Encouraged Condom Use, Official Says
If the Roman Catholic Church were to condone condom use to curb the spread of HIV in Africa, transmission of the virus still would not slow on the continent, South African Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier said on Wednesday at World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, the AAP/News.com.au reports. According to the AAP/News.com.au, when asked why the church has not instructed its followers to use condoms to reduce the spread of HIV, Napier said such a policy would make little difference.
Napier, who is opposed to the use of condoms to prevent HIV, said that although South Africa has one of the highest condom distribution rates worldwide, it also is one of the countries most affected by HIV/AIDS. He added, "You expect that because people are hearing from bishops, 'You must use a condom,' that they will do what the bishops say?" According to Napier, Uganda has been able to reduce its HIV/AIDS prevalence through a program that includes abstinence, fidelity and condom use only for married couples.
According to Napier, the church has had faith in people to control their own lives and avoid HIV transmission. "At the moment, if you go on a policy of condom distribution as the only solution to HIV and AIDS, you are telling people that they cannot take control of their own lives," Napier said. He added, "[T]herefore, I think you are doing them an injustice by saying: 'You are so stupid. Even though this disease is a killer, you cannot take control of your own lives'" (AAP/News.com.au, 7/16).