Pope, condoms and AIDS


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Edinburgh, scotland
"Pope Benedict XVI really did say that AIDS is a "drama that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which on the contrary increase the problem."

From the following article:
Why the pope is wrong on HIV transmission - Short Sharp Science - New Scientist

My personal view is that making such statement makes the Pope criminally culpable. As he is a spiritual leader and law maker to the adherents of Catholicism he is responsible for his statements as being more than mere opinions. To him it may be just a drama. To me it is untold suffering for many millions and any and every device should be employed to combat it. Including condoms.
Not openly talking about the dangers of unprotected sex is increasingly deadly.

There are so many countries (US included) that have so many pent up issues that discussing this is taboo. Which means that transmission of disease by ignorance increases.

The one positive note the Pope may have made by this (imo ignorant0 move is to spur discussion on it (his statement), and then on the issue.
I agree with the pontiff here... giving out free condoms doesn't stop AID's.

In the UK, we have free sexual health clinics. You can turn up, be checked, recieve contraceptives for free- you don't even have to give your real name, and yet...

sexually transmitted diseases are on the increase, still. The problem is so bad we have public information campaigns; posters on the buses, advertisements on TV. Even though any sexually active person in the UK can easily access free contraception on any High Street, teenage pregnancies and STD's are rife. If more contraceptives equalled less disease the more condoms we gave the lower prevelence rates would be, but this does not happen.

Thirty years ago those at the highest risk of HIV infection were injecting drug users and promiscuous gay men. Since then the gay community had educated itself, and so too have the injecting drug users. Giving out free condoms and free syringes here is a good thing. And it has worked. Within both communities new cases of HIV infection are declining.

Today the highest risk group for AID's infection is...

heterosexual women.

There is two reasons for this... first- basic biology... a woman is designed internally as a vessel, and vessels by their nature are designed to hold things. The contractions of orgasm propel the sperm deeper into the vessel, which means that a woman has more chance of being infected. It's the way she's designed. Men have less chance of becoming infected by a woman than the other way around.

I think most men are aware of this and it has made them less likely to use condoms.

Secondly, it's due to our conceptions of western female sexuality and the mixed messages we give woman. We are no longer held in high esteem for being chaste- quite the opposite. A woman is considered frigid if she's not swinging from lampshades. Yet, at the same time, while the woman must enjoy sex, and have a rampant rabbit in her knicker drawer, she cannot openly discuss this, as if she does she's a loose woman. Sex is something we use to purchase rewards- love, affection, accomodation, status within a group, access to drugs and drink and all the best parties, money, and something which we reward others with.

"He's bought me a fantastic meal and flowers and we had drinks and he paid for the taxi home and so..."

Sex is not something we do simply to further the species. Nor is it the result of the union of two caring lovers.

Yet to think like that makes you a prude, something to be ridiculed. Especially as a youth. So sex becomes just another commodity, a commodity which is none too highly prized. It is sport, recreation, social currency. Not important.

I read a short story a few weeks ago, and one character, referring to another said- "ah yes, she is a great whore- she gives a little of her soul each time"... and maybe there's some truth in that...

If we all viewed sex as "the religious" tell us we should, then we would have considerably less infections and fewer abortions and fewer teenage pregnancies. We would value sex more.

If we did not see woman as curious hybrids of slut and nun, if we didn't see men as virile chaps and sex their prize, if we didn't all run around like bonobo monkeys with our red bottoms in the air looking for lust, then
maybe that would halt the transmission of AID's.

If you stay a virgin until you're married, and your sexual partner does the same, unless one of your parents had AID's and passed it to you there would be no AID's for you, as an individual.

I know that sounds old fashioned, and a little twee, but that's my feeling.

The only 100% successful form of contraception is abstinence. If you don't want to be pregnant at fifteen, if you don't want to catch the clap at the school prom or get gonnorhea at university then stay a virgin.

If that is unacceptable to you, then use condoms every time you have sex. And that includes oral.

Yet- how many people do that? You get drunk, meet a gal in a club, none of you have condoms, but you've come back to her flat for a reason, and nobody should be dissapointed. You don't intend to see her again, nor her you. It's just a one night stand. You take the chance.

A few weeks ago my brother took a prostitute home. He met her in the pub. He didn't even fancy her. She repulsed him, yet still he had sex with her. He didn't pay her. They didn't use a condom, even though he knew she was an injecting drug user and a prostitute. A few days later his lymph nodes were raised, he had a slightly elevated temperature.

Signs of infection, perhaps? Potentially. All viruses start like this, from the common cold to HIV. Of course I've advised him to attend a clinic, yet in all likelihood he won't. Did he contract HIV that evening? We will probably never know.

And nor will any of his future sexual partners, nor their future sexual partners. And that's the real issue.

People are people all over the world. There are millions of men out there, all over the world who are just like my brother. They have meaningless sexual encounters with women they do not even fancy. There are millions of supposedly empowered women who are prepared to lie down with them. Handing out free condoms will not stop that- instead it makes it seem more acceptable.
Today the highest risk group for AID's infection is...

heterosexual women. .
Namaste Francis,

Is this actually true or the ususal statistical word games.

ie what percentage of IV drug users gets HIV, what percentage of homosexuals get HIV and what percentage of heterosexual women get HIV?

I believe the statistic you are referring to is like here in the US when they say Nevada was the fastest growing state...well when you have a million people and 50,000 move in that is a 5% increase. But when you have another state with 20 million people and 600,000 people move in that is only a 3% increase even though it is 550,000 people more.

So my question is, is the NUMBER of heterosexual women that aquired HIV larger in the past few years than the NUMBER of IV drug users or homosexuals?

And if women used condoms or quit having sex with IV drug users or Bisexual men, you don't think they'd reduce the numbers of new cases in their group??
Who is most affected?

The two groups most affected in the UK are men who have sex with men (MSM) and migrants from regions of the world where HIV is common, such as sub-Saharan Africa....but the majority of people actually diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2007 (55%) had been infected through heterosexual sex.."

THT: Information resources: Facts and statistics: UK


The number of people newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK who contracted the virus through heterosexual sex, either in the UK or abroad, is increasing. In 1999 heterosexual sex overtook homosexual sex as the most common route of transmission among new HIV cases overall.
In 2007, heterosexual transmission accounted for 55% of those diagnosed in the UK.

In 2007, about 77% of heterosexually acquired HIV that was diagnosed in the UK, was probably acquired overseas.
Those infected with HIV through heterosexual sex account for:
  • the highest proportion of newly diagnosed HIV cases in each year since 1999
  • 55% of new HIV cases in 2007, up from 37% in 1997
  • 50% of the total cases presenting for care, which is more than any other group (MSM now account for 42%)
Amongst those diagnosed with heterosexually acquired HIV:
  • around two thirds are Black African
  • many women are diagnosed by routine testing during pregancy
  • In 2007, 36% of heterosexual women and 42% of heterosexual men were diagnosed late.
The number of people newly diagnosed with HIV and probably infected through heterosexual sex in the UK rose from 534 in 2005 to 960 in 2007. This shows the ongoing impact of the global HIV epidemic, with many of these heterosexuals probably being infected by partners exposed to the virus abroad.


so, you see, I'm not just a fly by night damn lies and statistics type...
Namaste Francis.

The report indicates that 41% are men having sex with men. 55% heterosexual. The remainder IV, by birth or otherwise.

I don't see any indication where heterosexual women are the highest percentage. Nor do I see any breakdown of how hetero women get it. They do say the majority of hetero women are getting it from men who have been overseas. Which makes me still say the majority of women getting HIV are getting it from men with risky behaviours...ie having sex with men, prostitutes or IV use.

So three things will cut down down dramatically on AIDS: education, condom use, and quit having sex with partners in high risk categories. (mutual monogamy (surprise!)).

lastly and contrary to all the reports in the UK conclusion link found on the same page and to the dismay of every gay rights group:
• The number of diagnoses among people infected heterosexually has declined; wheras new diagnoses amongst men who have sex with men have continued to increase. In 2007, 3,160 MSM were diagnosed with HIV, the highest number since the epidemic began.
So I still just fail to see how
Today the highest risk group for AID's infection is...heterosexual women.
When more MSM are infected every year than women and obviosly there are more women in England than MSM...

You raise some pertinent points. In the UK however the free availability of condoms and the advertising campaigns to promote their use has, as you say, not prevented an explosion in STDs. But just because the government throws millions of £s at advertising does not make it effective and in my opinion this is the real reason behind the figures. The campaigns have been short lived, did not resonate with the target group and failed to address the other issues such as under-age drinking, education in general and social deprivation. Most STDs and unwanted youth pregnancy takes place within the most ecconimicaly deprived segments of our society where in the words of that Pulp song, Common People, "where they smoke and drink and screw, cause theres nothing else to do". So in my opinion it is other environmental and social factors that are pivotal in the understanding of the UK problem.

In Africa however we have a whole different scenario. In Uganda for example in some places 40% of adults are HIV+. The social dynamic is completely different and they need urgent help to tackle the problem. When the CC jumps in with deliberate lies, such as condoms have holes in them or they actually increase the likelihood of infection then they are not merely stating their moral position but dis-educating and directly playing a role in spreading the disease. People have always had 'illicit' sex and always will have. No moral posturing will prevent that. To deny that reality and to compund such stupidity with outright lies from an organisation that knows full well the science to me is nothing short of culpability.

In the brothels of Mumbai and Dehli aids was 10 years ago at epidemic proportions. The Indian government with help from charities started to distribute and educate about the use of condoms. Since implementation the rate of new infections has fallen sharply. So the problem can be tackled using condoms, if not entirely prevented.

Women are, again as you said, the highest risk group to contract HIV. This is an anatomical accident. Indeed for a circumsised man it is relatively unlikely to become infected unless there is a cut or abrasion. But for a woman virtually the whole sexual organ is permeable to the virus. It is only the factor of the prevelance of HIV amongst the homosexual community that seems to make the figures debateable. The colon, like the vulva, is HIV permeable.