In one of the most significant turnarounds in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS, today the Catholic Church announced that it is a lesser evil to use a condom than to knowingly spread the HIV virus. In other words, sex with a condom is better than without when you are HIV positive. Just a few months ago the Pope visited Africa and declared that condoms actually made things worse. To now accept that condoms help prevent the spread of the disease, this is world-changingly huge.
What is so revealing in this reversal is that real transformative change, absolutely radical shifts in world view, are actually possible even within hardened systems of dogma. Whether this decisions was somehow influenced by the UNAIDS report that was also released today (with data showing that new HIV/AIDS cases have fallen and attributing this trend to an increase in condom usage) we might never know.
What we do know, is that real change, change that will radically affect the lives of millions of individuals, has come. Change that might possibly eliminate the unnecessary sufferings of millions of people, has come. It has come at last.
From the Associated Press:
VATICAN CITY – Using a condom is a lesser evil than transmitting HIV to a sexual partner — even if that means a woman averts a possible pregnancy, the Vatican said Tuesday, signaling a seismic shift in papal teaching as it explained Pope Benedict XVI’s comments.
The Vatican has long been criticized for its patent opposition to condom use, particularly in Africa where AIDS is rampant. But the latest interpretation of Benedict’s commentsabout condoms and HIV essentially means the Roman Catholic Church is acknowledging that its long-held, anti-birth control stance against condoms doesn’t justify putting someone’s life at risk.
“This is a game-changer,” said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit editor and writer. “By acknowledging that condoms help prevent spread of HIV between people in sexual relationships, the pope has completely changed the Catholic discussion on condoms.”
The change came on a day when U.N. AIDS officials announced that the number of new HIV cases has fallen significantly — thanks to condom use — and a U.S. medical journal published a study showing that a daily pill could help prevent spread of the virus among gay men.
“This is a great day in the fight against AIDS … a major milestone,” said Mitchell Warren, head of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition
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