Thursday, March 19, 2009

You want the truth? The WORLD cannot handle the TRUTH!

Pope Benedict XVI made his first pontifical visit to Africa this week. During his visit, he made the comment that condoms are not the solution to Africa's AIDS problem. Of course he is right, and that is rather obvious. The Pope did many other things, of a spiritual nature, but of course the media only picked up on his comments about condoms. I believe people are bent on maintaining their sexual promiscuity and anyone who challenges their ability to do anything they want sexually will provoke their unbridled anger. Christ's message said a lot about sexual purity, and while many would like to be considered Christian, they refuse to accept the Church's teachings on sexuality.

The Pope is right about condom use not being the solution, but rather contributing to the problem. In Uganda, they did an experiment where they placed Abstinence as a top priority, followed by "Being faithful" and third if necessary use Condoms. It was called the ABC program. People soon stopped using condoms and focused on abstinence. The AIDS rate decreased dramatically. The Catholic Magazine "This Rock" did a great article on this. Instead of paraphrasing it, I will post it in its entirety here. Enjoy:

Uganda: The Real ABC’s of an Epidemic
The first documented case of HIV/AIDS in Uganda occurred in 1982. From that small but ominous beginning, the curse of AIDS soon engulfed the country of Uganda, much as it swept across the African continent through the 1980s and into the 1990s. For Uganda, the epidemic was especially tragic given the nation’s desperate efforts to recover from the dark years of the dictator Idi Amin from 1971 to 1979 and subsequent years of political instability. By the early 1990s, the infection rate in Uganda of HIV reached 30 percent, and there was widespread agreement that if action were not taken quickly, the very survival of the country would be jeopardized.

President Yoweri Museveni, who came to power in 1986, settled on an aggressive government-sponsored plan that involved posters, radio messages, training, education, and public rallies and that called on the support of community leaders, local churches, and general public. The message was said to be as simple as the "ABCs": "Abstinence, Be Faithful, and if necessary, use Condoms."

Character over Condoms
A funny thing happened in Uganda, however. While condoms were suggested for those who refused to abstain, the greater focus of the campaign was not on the "C" but on the "A" and the "B": abstinence and faithfulness. Ugandans, especially young Ugandans, were urged to wait until marriage before having sex, or to return to abstinence if they were not virgins. Wives and especially husbands were asked to remain faithful to their spouses. And when the "C" was stressed, it did not mean condoms but the embrace of the Catholic Church in Uganda and the suggestion that the proper meaning of "C" should be "character formation."

The mantra of changing behavior rather than perpetuating a condom culture resulted in startling developments. In the late 1980s, 50 percent of females 15 to 17 years old had engaged in sex; this was down to 34 percent by 2000. Uganda’s Demographic and Health Survey of 2000-2004 indicated that 93 percent of Ugandans had altered their sexual behavior to avoid HIV/AIDS.
The results were immediately apparent when Uganda’s infection rate began declining. Adult HIV rates dropped from about 30 percent in the early 1990s to 8 percent in 2002. Today, the infection rate hovers at 4.1 percent. President Museveni spoke at a World AIDS Conference in Bangkok in 2004 and declared forcefully that condoms should not be the definitive public health intervention against HIV/AIDS. He was joined in this call to reality by the Kenyan first lady Lucy Kibaki, who regularly teaches school girls that they should delay sex until after marriage and forget about condoms. (See "Why the ABC Message Worked," page 22.) Uganda’s success made it a model for other African countries and also played a major influence in the current AIDS relief program undertaken by the Bush administration.

Uganda’s progress against AIDS is a story of promoting the culture of life. Everywhere in Africa the Church’s stand on the real ABCs—abstinence, be faithful, and character formation rather than condoms—has been adopted, the HIV/AIDS rates are substantially lower. The 2003 World Factbook of the Central Intelligence Agency reported, for example, Burundi had a 62% Catholic population and a 6% AIDS infection rate; Angola had a 38% Roman Catholic population and a 3.9% AIDS rate; Ghana was 63% Christian with a Catholic population of 12% (in some regions it is as high as 33%) and a 3.1% AIDS rate. In stark contrast, those countries that have steadfastly clung to the myth of condom use as the primary means of preventing the epidemic also have the highest rates of HIV/AIDS. In Botswana, where only 5% of the population is Catholic, 37% of the overall population is infected with HIV/AIDS. In South Africa, with a 7% Catholic population, 22% of the total population is infected.

The UN’s Failure
Undeterred by the success of the Ugandan methods and enraged by an approach that challenges the assumptions of the Western sexual revolution, the UN and other nongovernmental organizations (including UNICEF, the UNFPA, the World Health Organization, and Centers for Disease Control) are placing pressure on Uganda and other countries to offer only condoms as a solution to their problem. In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Martin Ssempa, a Ugandan AIDS activist, denounced the obdurate position of the United Nations and its UNAIDS program, noting, "UNAIDS has no success story. UNAIDS cannot point at any country where they have given advice and that country has brought HIV down" (LifeSiteNews, October 25, 2007). The situation is an ironic one. The Martyrs of Uganda gave their lives by refusing to engage in lurid sexual activities and to surrender their faith. Uganda today is being offered a similar choice by the Western culture of death. Only this time, by adhering to the faith and doing what is right, the Ugandans, along with the rest of Africa, will actually be saving their lives. In both cases, moral courage remains the key to a future of hope.

Matthew E. Bunson is a contributing editor to This Rock and the author of We Have a Pope: Benedict XVI (Our Sunday Visitor, 2005) and more than 30 other books. He was a consultant for USA Today during the funeral of John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict. He is the general editor of Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Almanac, a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and a moderator of EWTN’s online Church history forum.

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