Sub-Saharan Africa has been hit harder by AIDS and HIV than any other region of the world, according to the United Nations and World Health Organization. There has been fierce debate between those who advocate the use of condoms to help stop the spread of the epidemic and those who oppose it.
I’m sure the blogosphere is on fire with this one right now. I have a friend who is Catholic and I asked her about this. She said it’s only for conservative Catholics. I said, “But the Pope is in Africa where millions of people have AIDS, and he’s telling them not to use condoms.” She replies, “Cannot. If people do not use condoms they will die. So they must.”
I’m not really “Anti-Pope”, I just don’t understand it. The only response I can hear is someone saying “Well, people should just not have premarital sex and all the STD’s and AIDS would be wiped out.” I suppose that might be true. But it’s not going to happen. So is the real response that lies between the lines really this: “Evil people must die. AIDS is from God to destroy people that have premarital sex.” I know for a fact there are people that think this. They have posted that on some of my religion discussion forums.
To me this is all an example of where religion is stuck in following certain rules set by it’s theology, and the outcome is ridiculous.
In Thailand not too many years ago a large portion of the population had AIDS, like one percent of the entire population. They did a major public awareness campaign to promote condom use and in just a few years cut those statistics dramatically.
A friend who lives in Bangkok told me that Bill Gates sponsored a prize for the country that could make the biggest change in it’s AIDS statistics. And Thailand won.
In just the last few years China has begun to sell condoms at convenience stores. Before this the condoms were only available at adult stores and “naughty” places. The idea was that no “good person” would ever use a condom. It was only to be used by someone who was sick. So if you use a condom, it means you are sick. Don’t use them, and you are healthy. There was not really an understanding of AIDS and how it was transmitted. It was thought of more like a game of chance, a random choosing of Buddha or the Gods. Do you see how this kind of thinking is so dangerous?
Fast forward to today and China has condoms available at most convenience stores and grocery stores. I don’t know statistics on the effect of this, but I would safely assume it is cutting a large dent into AIDS transmissions.
So, tell people not to have premarital sex. But they do. If they do, they can use condoms and cut down AIDS transmission. But you have a Pope telling people not to use them. So they have sex without condoms, get AIDS and die. What is the sense of that?
When I lived in America the AIDS phenomenon was a fairly distant thing. I do know some people that have died of AIDS, but admittedly most of them were gay. So we can still hide under the false banner that it’s a “gay” disease.
But I’m in China now. Closer to those third world countries where I read the news about what’s going on over here and how public perception is adding to the spread of the disease. It comes down to education and the social consciousness of different cultures as to how they act in response to AIDS.
And the pope is telling them to not use condoms. Score one for the army of God.