Honduran Catholic Charity Workers Ignore Church's Anti-Condom Stance to Prevent Spread of HIV
May 13, 2005
Some Catholic charity workers in Honduras are "turning their backs on the Vatican's anti-condom stance" and providing information about condoms to people to prevent the spread of HIV, Reuters reports. Honduras -- which is about 85% Catholic, has about 70,000 HIV-positive people and has an adult HIV prevalence rate of nearly 2% -- contains approximately 60% of all AIDS cases in Central America and has "one of the fastest-growing AIDS epidemics" in the Western Hemisphere, according to Reuters. HIV/AIDS advocates say that education and prevention efforts are desperately needed among the general population, which is "less informed about the risks" than commercial sex workers, Reuters reports. However, some HIV/AIDS advocates say that condom promotion is "not enough" to help vulnerable women, according to Reuters. These advocates say that female-controlled contraceptives -- such as the female condom, which also violates Catholic teachings -- are needed, according to Reuters. About 90% of new HIV cases among women in the country are among married women, who often contract the disease from their husbands who have extramarital affairs. "Priests can make a big difference on issues like this. Nobody wants the church to change, but when you work in this field common sense prevails," Catherine O'Leary, a British nurse and head of the San Jose Hospice, said, adding, "You can't tell people not to have sex, so you have to teach them to protect themselves. The condom issue is about what you use them for. Anything that might stop one person getting AIDS has to help" (Bremer, Reuters, 5/11).
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