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Medical journal criticised for mis-stating Church AIDS work

Caritas Internationalis has sent a letter of protest to the editor of the British medical journal The Lancet to correct misinterpretations of the Church's struggle against AIDS printed in its 12 March issue.

The letter, sent on Sunday by Fr Robert Vitillo, special adviser on HIV and AIDS, analyses an editorial entitled "The Pope's Grievous Errors".

"While you give half-hearted but completely inadequate recognition to the Catholic Church's early, consistent and comprehensive response of care and treatment to those living with HIV and AIDS, you totally misrepresent its efforts to prevent the further spread of this infection," he wrote.

"You completely ignore the fact that the two methods promoted by the Catholic Church -- sexual abstinence outside marriage and fidelity within marriage -- are legitimate means of HIV prevention, proven by reputable scientific research to have contributed to the containment and decrease of HIV-infection levels in several countries (cf. 'Rethinking AIDS Prevention,' by Edward C. Green, Praeger Publications)," states the letter.

"You presume that the Catholic Church and UNAIDS do not engage in meaningful communication when, in fact, the opposite is the case," adds Fr Vitillo.

"In 1999, UNAIDS established a Memorandum of Understanding with Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based confederation of Catholic relief, development and social services agencies based in 162 countries of the world (and, I might add, supporting or operating HIV and AIDS programs in 102 countries of the world)," he explains.

"Since that time, these two organizations have collaborated closely to strengthen HIV and AIDS education programs, especially for young people, to reduce stigma and discrimination, and to deliver HIV and AIDS services where they are most needed -- particularly in rural areas of developing countries which often do not enjoy health care coverage sponsored either by governments or by multilateral or other nongovernmental organizations," continues the letter.

Medical journal hit for mis-stating Church's work in AIDS (The Universe 22/3/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Internationalis
The Lancet | Editorial: The Pope's grievous errors (12/3/05)

Papal theologian weighs condom use against AIDS (CathNews 2/2/05)
Cardinal says condoms ban due to implied sexual immorality (CathNews 25/1/05)
Pope calls attention to AIDS in developing world (CathNews 24/1/05)
Condom controversy continues (CathNews 21/1/05)
Spanish Church acknowledges role of condoms in AIDS fight (CathNews 20/1/05)
Priest says AIDS fight must tackle 'sex object' culture (CathNews 1/12/04)

Medical Journal Hit for Misstating Church's Work in AIDS (Zenit 21/3/05)
AIDS strategy 'not skewed' (Catholic Leader 6/3/05)
Education Needed to Fight Aids, Says Symposium (Zenit 11/2/05)
Catholic group warns British priests about pro-condom policy of Catholic charity (Catholic News Agency 8/2/05)
Catholic aid agency faces cash boycott (The Guardian 5/2/05)

23 Mar 2005