Loading
Thirty years after AIDS discovery, appreciation growing for Catholic approach
The Vatican's representative to the U.N. in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi
The Vatican's representative to the U.N. in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi
By David Kerr
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The Vatican’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva says that 30 years after the discovery of AIDS, international relief agencies and faith-based groups are beginning to show an openness to the Catholic solution for the illness.

“We are at the beginning of a convergence in the sense that functionaries of international institutions and organizations and people from faith-based groups are talking across the lines and coming to respect each other a bit more,” Archbishop Silvano Tomasi told CNA.
 
Archbishop Tomasi’s comments come three decades after the first medical paper recognizing the illness was published in the U.S.

Based on a study of homosexual men in California and New York, the new ailment was initially labelled GRID, or Gay-related Immune Deficiency. Since then, the U.N. estimates that 65 million people worldwide have been infected by HIV/AIDS, with over 25 million killed.

The most significant point of departure between the Catholic Church and many other bodies involved in the fight against AIDS is over the use of condoms as a preventative measure.

“It has been proven and even documented now that the really effective way is to change your behaviour. And so, this has been our insistence,” Archbishop Tomasi said, stressing the Catholic Church’s emphasis on behavioral change over condom-distribution.

His comments also come in the week that a new report suggests millions of people are dying from AIDS because Western governments are refusing to accept that condoms are ineffective in curbing the spread of the disease.

The report, entitled “The Catholic Church and the Global AIDS Crisis,” is the work of the American public health expert Matthew Hanley.

“We are always told that condoms are the best known ‘technical’ means for preventing HIV transmission, but we are never told that condom promotion has failed to reverse those most severe African epidemics; behavioral modification, on the other hand, has brought them down,” says Hanley. 

Hanley estimates that six million infections would have been averted in sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade if the Catholic approach of fidelity and abstinence had been promoted instead of widespread condom use.

“That this is not common knowledge should give us pause. Public health leaders may increasingly recognize this reality – but remain, by and large, reluctant to emphasize behavioral approaches to AIDS control over technical solutions.”

Hanley’s report also claims that in east Africa, Uganda saw a 10 percent drop in the number of people with AIDS between 1991 and 2001 after investing in abstinence programs. The rates of infection only began to climb again when foreign donor agencies insisted on the increased use of condoms in the fight against AIDS. 

Last month the Vatican held a two-day conference on how best to tackle the AIDS epidemic. It was aimed at finding common ground on the issue and included contributions from those who disagree with the Catholic Church.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
20

Liturgical Calendar

December 20, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Judg 13: 2-7, 24-25A
Gospel:: Lk 1: 5-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14