IAS urges Pope to strongly support condom use

Pope Benedict
Washington, Nov 24: Following Pope's comments that condom use could, in specific circumstances, be acceptable, the International AIDS Society (IAS) has urged him and the Catholic Church to come out clearly and strongly in support of all evidence-based methods of HIV prevention, including condom use.

By implying that there can only be some exceptional circumstances that could allow for condom usage, such as that of male prostitutes, the Pope is ignoring scientific evidence that shows that both male and female condoms, used correctly and consistently, can reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV by 80 to 90 percent.

Although the Pope's concession is a step in the right direction, the IAS remains skeptical especially after the Pope's comments in 2009 when he stated that condoms aggravated the AIDS problem. At that time the IAS reacted saying that his comments were "irresponsible and dangerous" and that there was "not a shred" of evidence suggesting condom use raises the risk of HIV transmission.

The IAS President Elly Katabira expressed his mixed reaction to the Pope's comments, "While I appreciate this is a significant shift in policy by the Pope, there is still a long way to go in convincing the Catholic church that condom usage is key to the elimination of the HIV virus which currently claims two million lives every year".


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