The pope’s distortion of facts will end up costing lives

How unrealistic is Pope John Paul II when he stated that condoms do not help prevent AIDS? The statement, issued at a time when AIDS is wreaking havoc in the populations of Africa and parts of Latin America, could not be more deplorable and further removed from scientific facts.

In the statement issued last week the pope condemned the use of condoms and justified doing so by saying condoms are permeable to the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

More specifically Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo said, “the AIDS virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the (sperm). The (sperm) can easily pass through the ‘net’ that is formed by the condom.”

These facts are fictitious as the World Health Organization was quick to point out and contradict the extensive scientific data that has been collected on the matter. WHO went as far as to say the mere suggestion was “dangerous when we are facing a global pandemic which has already killed more than 20 million people, and currently affects at least 42 million.”

The AIDS epidemic currently is the leading cause of death in Africa for people ages 25 to 44, according the Center of Disease Control. Most African nations have infection rates from 30 to 40 percent in their populations.

But the disease is not only restricted to Africa. The disease is also has a strong foothold in Florida where the last reported number of HIV cases, reported in 1997, is 61,787. In 2002, deaths caused by AIDS were estimated to be at least 3.1 million worldwide.

To suggest that a method which has been deemed effective in preventing the HIV infection by the CDC, is immoral could very well mean that the virus spreads even faster.

The African nations already face often insurmountable problems in providing the funds and necessary medication for the individuals which are already infected. There is no need to further complicate the matter by telling them not to use condoms.

The other option other than condoms, also the one the pope suggests, is abstinence. Is the Vatican seriously under the impression that people will simply stop having sex? The only effect the statements made will have will be that people will have sex, just not protected with condoms. It seems obvious that the Catholic Church is making up the facts about condoms not being effective in a desperate attempt to push its own moral agenda.

The Vatican, however, has to accept that twisting scientific facts is unacceptable. It was bad enough that the Catholic Church kept insisting that the Earth was the center of the universe even though conclusive evidence had proven them wrong, but this time their ignorant stance on modern science is threatening people’s lives and is, therefore, inexcusable.