Condoms - A Standard Practice for All
Around the world the use of condoms is seen as a trusted weapon in the prevention of HIV infection, however, these efforts are often hampered by religious beliefs.
President Bush has clearly given preferential treatment by providing funding to HIV/AIDS groups and organizations which promote abstinence; over those promoting the use of condoms! Steven Sinding, director general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation says "Condoms will remain key preventive tools for many, many years to come. The U.S. policy of emphasizing abstinence is a serious setback to the AIDS control effort".
The Pope refuses to recognize the harm the Catholic Church is causing with it's refusal to promote condom use in the prevention of HIV and AIDS. HIV+ individuals have even been told by Priests and Nuns that they should not use condoms. Religious leaders who forcefully directed and encourage abstinence have stopped campaigns on the use of condoms!
At the 2004 International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said "In some cultures sexual intercourse is so elaborate that condoms are a hindrance". Let the condom be used by people who cannot abstain, cannot be faithful or are estranged".
Condoms may not be preferred but the reality is they are now necessary. The use of condoms saves lives and condoms work to prevent the further spread of HIV!
Everyone working to promote abstinence as a method of preventing HIV infection should have to include education on the need for a condom and how to use a condom! Condoms prevent HIV infection!
We know that individuals who are told they must refrain from sex or make pledges of abstinence that they are very often ill prepared and a condom is not used when they do engage in sex. They become infected!
We also know that we cannot rely on the pledge of fidelity. Many women and men who considered themselves to be in a monogamous relationship were infected by their spouse. This is clearly evident now with the increase of HIV infections among married women. Knowledge of and the use of a condom is necessary in relationships!
Responsible sexual conduct means using a condom and if this is not being taught then many more people will be infected with HIV.
We will not see change in the HIV/AIDS pandemic until the use of Condoms are a standard practice for all!
Bradford McIntyre, HIV+ 20 years
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