[T]he pontiff reaffirmed the Vatican’s position... by saying that the continent’s AIDS epidemic “cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems.” This may sound rather baffling to a person who “knows”... that condoms do prevent, as a medical certainty, the transmission of HIV if used properly. Knowing this — and perhaps only this — the pope’s critics have not labored themselves with the details...
The Catholic position seems naïve to the average Westerner who, thinking of himself and his own society’s inability to regulate its collective sexuality, applies this lesson on the impossibility of self-restraint to the whole globe.
In fact, such Westerners, before they criticize Benedict for being unrealistic, may first want to calibrate their own sense of reality to African standards. Because where abstinence and monogamy have been most vigorously promoted, the HIV-infection rate has declined the most dramatically. Particularly, this is true of Uganda, where evangelical Christian influences have imbued the country’s AIDS policy with a moralizing outlook and an emphasis squarely on behavior change... In spite of the expectations of public-health wonks, Uganda saw a “60% reduction in casual sex . . . equivalent to a vaccine of 80% effectiveness,” according to a review of the policy published in the journal Science. In the wake of the policy’s implementation, Uganda became one of the first African countries to post a decline in the HIV-infection rate.Here's a good one, too:
In its obsession with condoms, the Western public-health community has been every bit as dogmatic as the pope. And it has been even more blinkered to the realities of Africa, which is arguably in the grips of a huge religious and moral revival that has a huge potential to be wielded in the fight against AIDS. Church attendance is soaring, and Africans are willing to make sacrifices, of both their money and their pleasure, for moral causes. In this respect, it is not Benedict and the Catholic Church who are out of touch. It is the West and its condom myopia.You know, it's not like I expect the main-stream media to be able to comprehend such subtleties, but I figure I should do my best to promote them on my little corner of the web here.