African AIDS experts voice support for Pope on condoms

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI

.- More than a week after the media attacked Pope Benedict XVI for his comments on condoms and AIDS, CNA is still hearing from experts around the world who support Benedict’s evaluation of the African AIDS epidemic. Dr. Filippo Ciantia, a Ugandan specialist in tropical medicine, along with eight other experts says that his experience resonates with the Pope’s statement.

The outcry against the Pope began after he presented the Church’s approach to combating AIDS. The international media zeroed in on a line from Pope Benedict about condoms increasing the problem.

The vast majority of the Pope’s words were dedicated to explaining how the best response to AIDS is to promote a spiritual and human renewal of people’s understanding of sexuality and to be willing to live true sacrificial friendships with those who suffer from AIDS.

On Thursday, CNA received a letter from Dr. Filippo Ciantia, a representative of the Association of Volunteers in International Service and a former USAID policy advisor on HIV/AIDS, along with 8 other Ugandan social and health workers in support of the Pope.

The introduction of the letter follows:

We would like to contribute to the heated debate on the statements of the Holy Father on the AIDS scourge at the press conference granted to journalists during the papal flight en route to Yaoundé, Cameroon.

We are social and health workers committed to [fighting] AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic in Uganda. Our experience indicates that what the Pope said is realistic, reasonable and scientifically sound.

With our letter we would like to enrich the debate with scientific and sound data.

We thank you for the kind attention,

Sam Orach

Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau

Kampala, Uganda

George William Pariyo  

Makerere University School of Public Health

Kampala, Uganda

Rose Busingye

Meeting Point International

Kampala, Uganda         

Ronald Kamara

Uganda Catholic Secretariat

Kampala, Uganda

Filippo Ciantia

Association of Volunteers in International Service

Kampala, Uganda

Lawrence Ojom

St Joseph’s Hospital

Kitgum, Uganda

Thomas Odong

Association of Volunteers in International Service

Kitgum, Uganda

Joseph Lokong

Adaktar Uganda Martyrs University

Faculty of Health Sciences

Nkozi, Uganda


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