Sunday, March 22, 2009
By John-Henry Westen
March 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, has said that the evidence confirms that the Pope is correct in his assessment that condom distribution exacerbates the problem of AIDS.
"The pope is correct," Green told National Review Online Wednesday, "or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope's comments."
"There is," Green added, "a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded 'Demographic Health Surveys,' between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction 'technology' such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by 'compensating' or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology." ( see the full interview with Green here: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MTNlNDc1MmMwNDM0OTEzMjQ...= )
The full text of Pope Benedict XVI's exchange with the reporter, which has set off a firestorm around the world in the media, has been released by the Vatican press office.
The pope was asked, "Holy Father among the many evils that affect Africa there is also the particular problem of the spread of AIDS. The position of the Catholic Church for fighting this evil is frequently considered unrealistic and ineffective.?"
Benedict XVI replied, "I would say the opposite.
"It is my belief that the most effective presence on the front in the battle against HIV/AIDS is precisely the Catholic Church and her institutions. I think of the Community of Sant' Egidio, which does so much, visibly and invisibly to fight AIDS, of the Camillians, of all the nuns that are at the service of the sick.
"I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome with advertising slogans. If the soul is lacking, if Africans do not help one another, the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem. The solution can only come through a twofold commitment: firstly, the humanization of sexuality, in other words a spiritual and human renewal bringing a new way of behaving towards one another; and secondly, true friendship, above all with those who are suffering, a readiness - even through personal sacrifice - to be present with those who suffer. And these are the factors that help and bring visible progress.
"Therefore, I would say that our double effort is to renew the human person internally, to give spiritual and human strength to a way of behaving that is just towards our own body and the other person's body; and this capacity of suffering with those who suffer, to remain present in trying situations.
"I believe that this is the first response [to AIDS] and that this is what the Church does, and thus, she offers a great and important contribution. And we are grateful to those that do this."
Says, "when you look at many of these so called AIDS activists, they are simply in it for the money"
By Hilary White
ROME, March 20, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A prominent Ugandan AIDS activist says that those who are attacking the pope for his stand against the use of condoms in the fight against the disease have "no credibility." In an e-mail sent to LifeSiteNews.com today, Ssempa thanked Pope Benedict for saying that condoms can exacerbate the problem of HIV/AIDS.
After twenty years as an AIDS prevention activist in Uganda, Martin Ssempa says he has concluded that the real culprit in the spread of the disease "is sexual promiscuity driven by immorality of the heart."
Ssempa, a pastor and government consultant on AIDS prevention, told LifeSiteNews.com, "It is a complete lie for many to say that Uganda has succeeded by a major condom campaign."
Earlier this week, at the start of his trip to Africa, Pope Benedict told reporters that the solution to the AIDS problem is "a spiritual and human renewal bringing a new way of behaving towards one another." Condemnation by the world's media, and the international AIDS and homosexualist organisations, exploded when the pope said, "If the soul is lacking, if Africans do not help one another, the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem."
Ssempa told LifeSiteNews.com today that he believes the pope was right. Ssempa has long maintained that this kind of attack on the pope and the Catholic Church's position, that occurs regularly in the press, stems from the hatred and fear in the "AIDS industry" of traditional morality in general and of sexual continence in particular.
"Here in Uganda when AIDS came we did not think it was caused by lack of condoms. No it was the presence of promiscuity. What the Pope is saying is true. It however makes those who are determined to live in a life of promiscuity feel spotlighted," Ssempa said.
Martin Ssempa has spent nearly two decades on the frontline of Uganda's highly successful AIDS prevention program that focuses on encouraging sexual abstinence and fidelity in marriage. "Our successful policy," he said, "always put abstinence and being faithful ahead of any medical products such as condoms and testing."
He questioned the failure of most media outlets to investigate the motives of the international AIDS organisations, saying, "Many of these writers and naysayers, are actually shills in the service of big pharma.
"Many are entangled in lucrative deals to distribute condoms and the more condoms they push out the more money they get. How come no one has ever made a comment on how much money is being made by big pharma out of the whole condom, testing and drug business?
"In fact when you look at many of these so called AIDS activists, they are simply in it for the money," he added.
Uganda's population is mainly Christian, and the message, supported by government-sponsored promotion, that men and women should not engage in extra-marital sex dramatically reduced Uganda's AIDS rate over the last couple decades. Ssempa and other local AIDS activists have frequently decried the interference of US and Europe-based international organizations who reject abstinence and fidelity principles in favor of condoms. This, they say only encourages promiscuity and the spread of the deadly disease. Since the intervention of the international AIDS groups, with their emphasis on condoms and downplaying of abstinence, Uganda's AIDS rate has begun, according to local experts, to "tick back up."
Ssempa co-authored Uganda's successful policy with Dr. Edward Green of Harvard University's Center for Population and Development Studies. Dr. Green told the National Review Online this week that Pope Benedict's assertion that condoms only make the AIDS crisis worse is backed by the research.
"There is," Green said, "a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded 'Demographic Health Surveys,' between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates."
Ssempa warned that there is no security in using condoms to protect against the AIDS virus. "Those who believe that they can put all their trust in getting a perfect condom in Africa are totally out of sync with the realities of Africa.
"In 2004 August more than 40 million condoms of the Engabu brand were found to be defective and were recalled to be destroyed. This was after a huge public outcry on the condom failures which may have exposed many people to HIV/AIDS in the false hope of security from these latex from China."
Ssempa said that there needs to be a complete rethinking of the reliance on condoms. Citing Dr. Green's work at Harvard, he said, "We must ask the tough question, why does the nations in Africa with the highest condoms correspond with the highest HIV/AIDS? These include Botswana and South Africa who have the first and highest condoms per male, yet their numbers of HIV/AIDS are also the same.
"They are in the top three spots of the nations with the highest HIV/AIDS. On the other hand nations with lower condoms per male per year correspond with lower HIV/AIDS."