Facing HIV epidemic, Catholic priests in the Philippines call for ban on condom ads [Update]
President Nereo Odchimar of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also called for warning labels saying “Condoms may fail to protect from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.”
ABC-CBN News reported:
Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral has come under fire from the CBCP for promoting condoms as part of the battle against HIV-AIDS. The health secretary said the distribution of condoms is part of the health department’s 3-pronged approach to combat the spread of HIV in the country.
Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed a total of 4,400 HIV/AIDS cases from 1984 to December 2009. Since the Philippines started monitoring the disease, the number of cases has gone up from 1 to 4,424 confirmed cases.
. . .
“At the rate we are going, in 3 years, we are going to have more than 30,000 people with HIV/AIDS in the Philippines,” the health secretary said.
The CBCP position is in keeping with that of Pope Benedict XVI, albeit not with the conclusions of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga. Specifically regarding epidemiology, the CDC concludes:
Overall, the preponderance of available epidemiologic studies have found that when used consistently and correctly, condoms are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV infection and reduce the risk of other STDs.
No, the world leader in matters epidemiological is not recommending a warning label or otherwise somehow supporting CBCP attempts to suppress condom use in the Philippines.
Philippine political figures respond that a ban on condom ads might infringe on freedom of speech. According to INQUIRER.net, Senator Mar Roxas “advised the Catholic church to just prod its followers not to use condoms.”
The debate over ads is part of an ongoing furor over contraception in which the bishops earlier called for Cabral’s removal from office. They seemed to be especially offended by his Valentine’s Day condom distribution effort.
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