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Church in Africa continues AIDS fight without condoms


Catholic leaders in Africa have pledged to step up their involvement in the fight against the AIDS pandemic, while continuing to reject the use of condoms to fight the disease.

"The church says one must be faithful in marriage and save oneself for marriage," said Senegal Bishop Alexandre Mbengue. "We cannot cave in to the current trend."

According to the UN agency UNAIDS sub-Saharan Africa is hardest hit by AIDS, being home to more than two-thirds of those infected with HIV worldwide - 29.4 million out of 42 million.

Congo's Kinshasa Archbishop Dominique Bulamatari said: "Using condoms as a means of preventing AIDS can only lead to sexual promiscuity."

However Nigeria's AIDS Alliance head Farouk Mohammed claims he has observed a softening of the church's position in the fight against AIDS.

"Excluding condom use, to which the church is still opposed, it is involved now in building awareness in and mobilising its members," he said.

A few minority voices among African church leaders condone condom use and urge Africa's Catholics to change their way of thinking to bring it more into line with the times.

"The condom is a stopgap, a lesser evil, but not the solution," said the bishop of Port Louis, Mauritius, Maurice Piat.

"The church's preachings are not about condoms, but about the urgency of fighting AIDS," he added, urging that the battle against the killer disease be waged "not with rubber, but with human resources."

SOURCE
AFP/A>

LINKS
Vatican: condoms don't stop Aids (The Guardian)
Vatican in HIV condom row
Vatican says condoms don't stop AIDS (Reuters)
Program: Vatican misinforming on condoms (UPI)
Vatican Says Condoms Don't Block HIV, BBC Reports (Bloomberg)
Catholic Relief Services: HIV/AIDS in Africa
African Jesuit AIDS Network
Pope urges AIDS programs that respect church teaching (24/9/03)
Kenyan archbishop warns condoms will not prevent AIDS (5/8/03)
Catholic bishops back government AIDS plan (14/8/03)



10 Oct 2003