South Africa Health Minister to Discuss AIDS Programs With Religious Leaders, Including Bishops Opposed to Condom Use
February 2, 2005
South Africa's Department of Health on Tuesday said that Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang will meet with religious leaders in the country, including officials from the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, later this month to discuss "various issues of common interest," including HIV/AIDS, the SAPA/News24.com reports (SAPA/News24.com, 2/1). The bishops last month condemned the promotion of condoms within the country, saying the contraceptives fail to curb the spread of HIV and might increase promiscuity. Cardinal Wilfred Napier said there is no evidence that condom promotion works to prevent HIV transmission and that, as a contraceptive, condoms are not 100% effective. Napier said that promiscuity is more damaging than the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Napier cited Uganda as the only success story in the fight against HIV/AIDS and said the country promotes abstinence instead of condoms. "If we look at the one example of success we have, which is Uganda, then there is a clear message that it was a return to moral values that has halted the disease," he said, adding, "Where condoms have been promoted, we have not seen the effect we've seen in Uganda." However, Uganda promotes both abstinence and condom use and has made condom distribution a "mainstay" in its fight against HIV/AIDS. Napier also said that educating children and young people about condoms encourages them to engage in sexual activity (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/28).
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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.