Friday, March 27, 2009

Pope, Condoms, Africa

Ugandan AIDS doctors, British medical journal at odds over Pope’s condom comments

Catholic Culture — As columnists worldwide condemned Pope Benedict’s comments on condoms and AIDS for the tenth consecutive day, a group of Ugandan healthcare workers who are on the forefront of combating the disease has issued a paper supporting the Pontiff. “We are social and health workers committed to face AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic in Uganda,” they write. “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.”
However, a leading medical journal-- The Lancet-- took issue with the Pope, calling upon him to retract his statement. The Lancet alleged that the Pope "publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine"-- although the Pope was making a common-sense argument, not citing scientific evidence, in the statement to which the journal objects. A particularly vicious and tasteless anti-papal cartoon appeared in The Martlet, a student newspaper at the University of Victoria in Canada-- an immaturity also evident in an Italian Facebook group’s pledge to mail the Pope condoms. The Italian news agency ANSA speculated that the Pontiff could receive millions of condoms in the mail.
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Medical journal says Pope distorting condom facts

Reuters — A prestigious medical journal on Friday accused Pope Benedict of distorting scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine by saying that condoms increase the spread of AIDS.
The Lancet in an editorial called on the Pope to retract the comments made last week, saying anything less would be an immense disservice to the public and health advocates fighting to contain the disease.
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Harvard Aids expert says Pope "correct" on condoms and spread of HIV

Times UK — The head of a Harvard-based AIDs prevention centre says the Pope is “correct” to claim that condom distribution risks aggravating the transmission of HIV.
Last week Benedict XVI incurred the wrath of AIDs campaigners and criticism from the Governments of France and Germany for saying, en route to Africa, that AIDS could not “be overcome by the distribution of condoms.” In comments condemned as "scary" and "alienating" by members of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Benedict XVI lauded monogamy as a way to combat the spread of AIDs. He said that condom distribution risked exaggerating the spread of the virus.
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