Vatican officials on Monday called for condom packages to carry health warnings similar to those on cigarette packages because the church believes condoms do not prevent the spread of HIV, Agence France-Presse reports. The warning label suggestion was made by Colombian cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo in response to a BBC program examining the Roman Catholic Church's position on condom use. "I propose that the ministries of health require the inclusion in condom packages and advertisements, and in the apparatus or shelves where they are displayed, a warning that the condom is not safe," Trujillo, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, said in a written statement. "This has been done since some time ago with cigarettes, saying that the filter does not guarantee protection."
Vatican officials have claimed that because HIV is so small, it can easily slip through pores in condoms, making them ineffective in preventing transmission of the virus. "Thus, to talk of condoms as safe sex is a form of Russian roulette," Trujillo continued in his statement.
Health experts around the world, including from the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization, have denounced the Vatican's claims that condoms are ineffective and point to research showing that condoms are 90% effective in preventing HIV transmissions. In the other 10% of cases the condoms did not work because they were used improperly, broke, slipped, or were used past their use-by dates.