October 23, 2009
In Brazil, home to the world's largest population of Catholics, the Church on Thursday announced a campaign to promote early testing for HIV, followed by treatment if necessary. Based on an initiative already underway in five cities, the national campaign includes syphilis testing and will be launched jointly by the Brazilian National Confederation of Bishops and Brazil's health ministry. As part of its efforts to reduce STDs and unplanned pregnancy, the government plans to distribute 1.2 billion condoms this year. In the past, the promotion of condoms has been a point of contention between the Catholic Church and the government.