Spanish Church Retreats from Support of Condoms to Prevent AIDS

After a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Church in Spain for the first time expressed support of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, Spain’s bishops retracted the statement. Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, spokesperson for the Spanish Bishops Conference, told reporters in Madrid, “Condoms have a place in the global prevention of AIDS” and that scientific evidence proves that the use of condoms and sexual restraint appeared to be the best way to fight the disease, reports the Associated Press.

Hours after this was reported in the press, the Spanish Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement saying, “It’s not true that the Church has changed its doctrine on condoms. It is impossible to advise the use of condoms [because] condom use implies immoral sexual conduct,” according to the Washington Post.

“The Catholic Church’s anti-condom stance is at odds with the world’s public health and AIDS experts who know that sound scientific advice exists showing that condoms work to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS,” said Beth Jordan, MD, medical director of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “If used consistently and from Ôstart to finish’ during vaginal, oral and anal intercourse, condoms not only prevent the transmission of HIV but other sexually transmitted infections as well. To not educate the public about the life-saving effects of condoms is simply unconscionable.”

The Spanish government reports that more than 120,000 adults aged 15-49 are living with HIV/AIDS in Spain and that eight people a day become infected with the virus.

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Washington Post 1/20/05; The Associated Press 1/19/05; Agence France-Presse 1/19/05; BBC News 1/19/05

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