Brazil blasts Catholic Church's opposition to condom use
BY Advocate.com Editors
December 12 2003 12:00 AM ET
The director of Brazil's national AIDS and sexually transmitted disease program last week sent an open letter to the Catholic Church criticizing the church's opposition to condom use to prevent HIV infections. Alexandre Grangeiro said he sent the letter because the church's attempts to discredit condom use "could not go unchallenged. We don't want to stir up controversy, but when the church tries to shut down discussion about condoms and claims to use scientific criteria to show they don't work, we have to clarify the facts. The church is wrong to insist that condoms don't protect and could be committing one more crime against humanity." Church leaders say abstinence and fidelity within marriage are the best ways to prevent the spread of HIV. In a statement in response to Grangeiro's letter, Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo called the government's efforts to stop the spread of HIV commendable, but noted, "it doesn't appear [condom usage] is adequate. Scientific research shows that there is a significant percentage of infection, even with the use of condoms." Other Catholic officials in the past have alleged that because HIV is so small, it can slip through pores in latex condoms, a statement most scientists have said is untrue.