This is essentially what Pope Benedict XVI has suggested while on his current visit to Africa, where he will visit Cameroon and Angola. Regarding the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has killed and affected millions, the vast majority living in sub-Saharan Africa, the Pope told reporters that it is "a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems."
Criticism of condom use is an altogether unsurprising position from the Catholic church, which largely rejects the use of birth control. Nonetheless, the argument appears to have reached a new level, with the Pope actually suggesting that condoms are making the "problem" of HIV/AIDS worse. I disagree with the church's position on condoms in general, though I recognize the valid point that condoms will not alone bring an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Nonetheless, I find it incredibly irresponsible for such a powerful and influential leader to make a causal argument of this nature with little to no evidence to back it up. Millions of the devoted will be listening, and millions may thus come to the conclusion that condom use in and of itself may increase their chances of contracting HIV. This could obviously not be farther from the truth (if you are going to have sex anyway, wearing a condom will certainly not increase your chances of contracting HIV).
We can agree to disagree on ideology, but not on matters of scientific fact, especially when millions of lives are at stake. This kind of misinformation benefits no one.
For more thoughts on the subject, see the opinion by the Guardian's Ela Soyemi. Or yesterday's NYT editorial. Or on Bill Easterly's latest post.
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