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Fight AIDS at Source Vatican Official Urges


The answer to the AIDS epidemic in Africa can only be found in an aggressive campaign to eliminate the moral, political, and social roots of the disease, according to the Vatican newspaper.

VATICAN ( - The answer to the AIDS epidemic in Africa can only be found in an aggressive campaign to eliminate the moral, political, and social roots of the disease, according to the Vatican newspaper.

L’Osservatore Romano, in an article dated April 5, observed that the distribution of condoms would not be enough to stop the spread of AIDS. Msgr. Jacques Suaudeau, a physician who works with the Pontifical Council for the Family, called for “discrete and effective” action to combat an explosive growth in AIDS.

Flatly contradicting the propaganda reports in which several governments and family-planning agencies have accused the Church of curtailing AIDS - prevention program, Msgr. Suaudeau wrote that “the Catholic Church has been on the front lines in the war against AIDS in Africa.” He observed that the Church is criticized for failing to approve of the distribution of condoms, but he went on to point out that condoms have been ineffective as a means of curbing the epidemic. “One cannot hope to stop the AIDS epidemic with condoms alone,” he argued, “any more than you can hope to stop a flood with sandbags once the main dikes have broken.” The only real solution to AIDS, the Vatican official continued, lies in “convincing people to change their sexual behavior, which is the principal cause of the spread of the infection.” He added that the frightening spread of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is abetted by turmoil in the region: the poverty, the lack of adequate sanitation, the conditions of life in refugee camps, and the spread of prostitution.

The most effective method of avoiding AIDS, Msgr. Suaudeau pointed out, is sexual abstinence. The distribution of condoms to young people, he argued, works against that choice, and in effect “continues the vicious sexual cycle which is the cause of the pandemic.”


"Fight AIDS at Source Vatican Official Urges." (April 6, 2000).

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Copyright © 2004 Victor Claveau. All Rights Reserved