Commentary & Opinion
Research May Support Pope's Comments Against Condom Use in Africa, Opinion Piece Says
March 30, 2009
Pope Benedict XVI "set off a firestorm of protest" earlier this month when he commented that condom distribution "isn't helping, and may be worsening" the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, but "in truth, current empirical evidence supports him," Edward Green, a senior research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. The condom has become a "symbol of freedom and -- along with contraception -- female emancipation," Green writes, adding that those who "question condom orthodoxy are accused of being against these causes." Members of the HIV/AIDS and family planning communities "take terrible professional risks if we side with the pope on a divisive topic such as this," Green writes, noting that his comments "are only about the questions of condoms working to stem the spread of AIDS in Africa's generalized epidemics -- nowhere else."
Green says that he is "not anti-condom," adding, "All people should have full access to condoms, and condoms should always be a backup strategy for those who will not or cannot remain in a mutually faithful relationship." In addition, "liberals and conservatives agree that condoms cannot address challenges that remain critical in Africa such as cross-generational sex, gender inequality, and an end to domestic violence, rape and sexual coercion," Green continues, concluding, "Surely it's time to start providing more evidence-based AIDS prevention in Africa" (Green, Washington Post, 3/29).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.