Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pope Benedict and condom use in fighting AIDS

I lost my intellectual interest in this politically/ideologically charged quagmire during my graduate studies in Moral Philosophy (Typical query: can celibate Roman Catholic nuns insist that certain - yet still would-be - rapists use condoms before aforesaid rape in order to prevent possible AIDS transmission or fertilization?).

But please don't be sidetracked by my personal experience.

My interest has certainly been re-awakened by the anti-scientific, anti-catholic, anti-papal BS which is floating around out there re: the Pope's recent visit to Africa and his statements about condoms/AIDS. I guess this whole bruhaha is a result of the typical blind-faith of those who report hyperbole and sensation in order to malign good opinion, that is, it is bad opinion and false reporting done by self-professed scientists and journalists despite the facts.

Recently, Edward C. Green, the director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, and Allison Herling Ruark, a research fellow at the Center, stated:

"In fact, the mainstream HIV/AIDS community has continued to champion condom use as critical in all types of HIV epidemics, in spite of the evidence. While high rates of condom use have contributed to fewer infections in some high-risk populations (prostitutes in concentrated epidemics, for instance), the situation among Africa’s general populations remains much different. It has been clearly established that few people outside a handful of high-risk groups use condoms consistently, no matter how vigorously condoms are promoted..... A UNAIDS-commissioned 2004 review of evidence for condom use concluded, 'There are no definite examples yet of generalized epidemics that have been turned back by prevention programs based primarily on ­condom promotion.' A 2000 article in The Lancet similarly stated, “Massive increases in condom use world-wide have not translated into demonstrably improved HIV control in the great majority of countries where they have occurred.”'

They continue: "Thus far, research has produced no evidence that condom promotion—or indeed any of the range of risk-reduction interventions popular with donors—has had the desired impact on HIV-infection rates at a population level in high-prevalence generalized epidemics. This is true for treatment of sexually ­transmitted infections, voluntary counseling and ­testing, diaphragm use, use of experimental vaginal microbicides, safer-sex counseling, and even income-­generation projects. The interventions relying on these measures have failed to decrease HIV-infection rates, whether implemented singly or as a package. One recent randomized, controlled trial in Zimbabwe found that even possible synergies that might be achieved through “integrated implementation” of “control strategies” had no impact in slowing new infections at the population level. In fact, in this trial there was a somewhat higher rate of new infections in the intervention group compared to the control group."

Read the whole thing via links here.


El Duderino said...

You're alive. Sorry for the light blogging, I've brining my blog-pickle over at Facebook. More or less.

CultMan said...

Oh yeah? Where? Interested to see it. CM