Chilean government rejects bishops’ recommendations on AIDS prevention campaign

.- A top Chilean official said this week the government of Chile will not modify its controversial AIDS awareness campaign, which encourages the use of condoms as the only means of protection against the disease.

Eduardo Dockendorff, a top aide of Chile’s president, made the remarks after meeting with the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Chile, Bishop Alejandro Goic. “The campaign has already begun and is in process, and we have no comments or changes in store,” Dockendorff said.

Although he said he welcomed and respected the opinions of the Catholic Church, Dockendorff argued that the commitment of the government is “to the health of the people.”  Ironically he went on to say that he would not follow the advice of Bishop Goic regarding the need to concentrate the campaign on abstinence or fidelity.

The government’s AIDS awareness campaign is being promoted with the slogan, “With regards to sex and AIDS, I have a position: use a condom.”  Two television networks have already refused to air the government spots, and the Catholic Church is promoting its own initiative, which encourages people to get tested for AIDS as well.

Several days ago, the Permanent Committee of the Chilean Bishops Conference issued a statement entitled, “What kind of society do we want?” in which they explained that limiting the message on prevention to solely the use of condoms is an attack on freedom, because more options are not being presented.

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