European commissioner says Vatican's condom opposition endangers lives
June 30 2004 11:00 PM ET
European commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Poul Nielson says the Vatican's position that condoms are ineffective in preventing the spread of HIV endangers millions of lives in African nations already hit hard by the diseases, BBC News reports. Nielson, appearing on BBC1's Panorama program, called scientifically false the claims by Cardinal Alfonso Trujillo, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Family, that HIV can pass through condoms and as such condoms should carry warning labels that they don't prevent HIV infections. The Vatican prohibits the use of condoms for both contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. "This is where bigotry gets into the big discussion," Nielson says of Trujillo's comments. He said the opposition to condom use to prevent the spread of HIV shows a "lack of love for human beings" and an "unwillingness to take their situation seriously." The Vatican refused to comment on the program.