The Catholic Church might be one of the largest providers of HIV/AIDS care facilities in the world. But researchers, scientists and believers who have been waiting for Catholic Church's approval of condom use are left disappointed. At the conference held over the weekend Vatican announced that its long-standing opposition against condom use to prevent HIV/AIDS will not be altered.
Statements issued by Pope Benedict XVI during the past years had ignited the hopes of condom promoters, mainly due to its ambiguity. One such statement published in Vatican newspaper in November 2010 had the Pope saying that condoms can be justified in certain cases,in the intention of reducing the risk of infection. The statement was in the context of protecting male prostitutes from Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD). As it turns out, even now, at the eve of 30th year since HIV/AIDS was first detected, Church is not willing to let believers go easy with their lives.
Greater issues like moral obligation and responsible living seem to be the focal points of Vatican's approach on HIV/AIDS prevention. Church's unyielding attitude has taken many by surprise particularly because the 2009 official statistics on AIDS showed a staggering number of more than 33 million infected population world wide, a steep increase from the 8 million in 1990. Greater precautions like restrained lifestyle and accountability are sure winners, but a more progressive stand on condoms to help the STD risk groups is not too much to ask for.
Turning away from something as ubiquitous as condom in the 21st century might even render the Church completely out-dated, according to condom advocates.
When Church is all about informed decision making, large section of doctors and researchers believe that it isn't the lack of information that is leading people to risky actions. At least for some people sex is a means of survival. Church will not include condom in the disease prevention facility, thus closing a free access door to condoms for the sex workers. The option to be faithful to a single partner within marriage just doesn't obtain in these (survival sex) situations. That is where the issue of the use of a condom, not for contraceptive purposes, but to prevent the transmission of a death-dealing virus, comes into play, says Bishop Kevin Dowling, best known for his pro-condom attitude.
Vatican newspaper had published an article before the conference, by Father Juan Perez-Soba, which maintained that condoms would make AIDS worse by promoting indulgent lifestyle. He advocated abstinence as the best path to take if you happen to have a HIV-infected partner in marriage.