Condom packages should carry a health warning similar to that printed on cigarette packets, Alfonso Cardinal Trujillo told the AFP in an interview about a BBC television program in which he said condoms are not guaranteed to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS.
“I propose that the ministries of health require the inclusion in condom packages and advertisements, and in the apparatus or shelves where they are displayed, a warning, that the condom is not safe,” the president of the Vatican’s Council for the Family told the news service, comparing the warning signs to those printed on cigarette packages.
The Colombian cardinal said that in his one-hour interview with the BBC, only one question was dedicated to the theme of “safe sex.” In response to that question, he affirmed that “one cannot really speak of 'safe sex', leading people to believe that the use of condoms is the formula to avoid the risk of HIV and thus to overcome the AIDS pandemic. Nor should people be led to believe that condoms provide absolute safety.
“I simply wished to remind the public, sustaining the opinion of a good number of experts, that when the condom is employed as a contraceptive, it is not totally dependable, and that the cases of pregnancy is not rare," Trujillo told the AFP.
"In the case of the AIDS virus, which is around 450 times smaller than the sperm cell, the condom's latex material obviously gives much less security. Some studies reveal permeability of condoms in 15 percent or even up to 20 percent of cases."
He added: "Thus, to talk of condom as 'safe sex' is a form of Russian roulette! And this is even without considering other possible reasons for condom failure, such as degradation of latex due to exposure to sunlight and heat, rupture and breakdown."
The World Health Organisation said the Church's claims are wrong and condoms are 90 per cent effective in preventing the transmission of HIV. In the remaining cases, the condom was used improperly, broke, slipped or had expired.