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Swiss AIDS Campaign Offends Catholic Bishops

April 25, 2003

Two advertisements urging the use of condoms to fight HIV have been withdrawn from a Swiss advertising campaign to avoid offense to the country's Catholic bishops. Switzerland saw a 25 percent increase in HIV infections last year. "Dear Father, if Rome doesn't want you to talk about contraception, then talk about condoms instead," one poster says in German. Marc Aellan, deputy general secretary of the Swiss Bishops' Conference, said, "We are not against the campaign, but we do not want it to upset Catholic sensibilities." Sandra Meier, spokesperson for the Swiss health ministry, said the campaign had been dropped because of inaccurate wording, not because it offended Catholic sensibilities. "We had intensive talks with the Bishop's conference, and agreed to drop that part of the campaign because we had used the word Rome rather than Vatican. The Pope is in Rome, but he lives in the Vatican, which is a separate state," she said. The church does not entirely condemn the use of condoms to fight HIV/AIDS, Aellan said: "We say the best protection is fidelity, but for those who cannot follow this, condoms are the better of the two wrongs."

Back to other CDC news for April 25, 2003

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Adapted from:
Reuters Health
04.24.03; Nigel Glass

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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