Sex Rights in Africa
The Health eZine - AIDS & HIV

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By Victoria Van Dyke - Updated December 2007.

AIDS/HIV is spreading across Africa like wildfire, and the PRIMARY reason is because the Catholic Church forbids the use of condoms. Condoms are the ONLY way to safely protect people from contracting AIDS (because many people don't know they even have it until its too late).

Abstinence DOES NOT WORK.

The Church policy has long been that abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy/AIDS. The problem is that people are having sex anyway and are going to continue having sex anyway. There is no stopping human nature. We have hormones and there is nothing the church can do about it.

Thanks to the Catholic Church however, many people in AIDS afflicted areas believe that condoms are a sin, and therefore refuse to use them.

Frankly, I don't think the Catholic Church cares what happens in Africa. The new pope is an old German guy who has NEVER been to Africa, and was a member of the Hitler Youth when he was younger. He doesn't give a damn about the people of Africa. Indeed, if you look at the Catholic population of the world, 40% of the world's Catholic's live in South America. Only 24% live in Europe. Yet somehow, a German right-wing cardinal was elected the new pope. It was obviously rigged.

Meanwhile, people in Africa are dying.

In the country of South Africa (population 44 million), the death rate is actually higher than the birth rate. Approximately 2680 people die EVERY DAY in South Africa, while approximately another 2193 babies are born every day (many are born with AIDS/HIV). Their country is literally shrinking by a population 400+ per day!

5.3 million people in South Africa have AIDS/HIV, including 22% of all adults.

And thats just the country of South Africa. Many other African countries are facing similar problems.

American President George W. Bush promised $15 Billion US is AIDS relief to Africa, but he has NEVER delivered on it. Instead he has quietly cancelled his promise, and used the funding in Iraq instead. So he doesn't care either.

in the country of Botswana (popluation 1.6 million), the death rate is even worse. The life expectancy is only 33, and there is now approximately 400,000 people with AIDS/HIV, with an annual rate of 35,000 people dying from AIDS/HIV. 37.5% of ALL adults in Botswana have AIDS/HIV.

But Botswana is small compared to Zimbabwe (population 12.5 million), where 170,000 people died during 2003 from AIDS/HIV, another 185,000 died during 2004, and currently has over 2 million people with AIDS/HIV. The life expectancy is 36, which means the majority of that 2 million people will likely die within the next 10 years, but they will infect many more before they die... 75% of the people in Zimbabwe are Christians and refuse to use condoms.

But Christianity isn't the only religion in Africa that says "NO to Condoms". Many of the indigenous religions of Africa are also opposed to this rubber contraption from the west. So we can't just blame the Catholic church for these problems, but the Catholic Church is popular in many parts of Africa... the different governments keep telling people to use condoms, but the various religions keep telling people that its a sin.

And then there's the issue of love.

When you're in love, do you really want to take the time and effort to listen to either the church or the state? The church says that SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE IS A SIN, and that using condoms is a sin too. So the mentality of two young lovers is that they will break the sex is a sin rule, and skip the condom idea. After all, it is much easier to just go with the "default" method.

Governments are trying to educate people, to make them realize that if they are going to break the #1 rule, they might as well break the #2 rule too, just to be safe.

But fighting against the orthodox rules of the church is very tricky, and it takes time.

In North America during the 1980s, the condoms issue was also a tricky matter with the Catholic Church saying its a sin, but eventually government programs in schools won out, and these days the vast majority of people in North America now believe in the value of condoms. It took 20 years and slogans like "No Glove, No Love" to get into it into the minds of people that AIDS is a serious threat.

In contrast to Africa, the United States (population 296 million) has only 1 million people with AIDS/HIV, and only 14,000 people who die from the disease every year. Thats tiny compared to the 419,000 babies born every year in the United States and the 244,200 people who die of AIDS, gun shot wounds, murders, car accidents, drug overdoses, lung cancer, heart attacks from over-eating, etc. In fact, in the United States you are twice as much more likely to be murdered, than you are to die slowly from AIDS.

The rest of the world seems to be turning a blind eye to Africa. When the April 1994 massacres in Rwanda happened, the genocides killed 800,000 people, and the rest of the world didn't even lift a finger. The only people helping at all was a small band of Canadian/European Peace Keepers, led by the Canadian General Romeo Dallaire.

The difference is that AIDS is a silent killer. When a war breaks out, we hear about it on the news. AIDS has been around for over 25 years, but its only within the last 10 years that its become an epidemic. Whats really needed is sex education to teach people that condoms ARE A NECESSITY, not an option. The Catholic Church doesn't care what happens to people in Africa or Asia (the AIDS epidemic has spread to India and China). People need to be educated about their sexual rights. They have the right to be properly educated about how their bodies work. They have the right to ignore the church. They have the right to choose condoms. They have the right to protect themselves from AIDS.

In North America, Europe and various parts of the world, people have embraced those rights. But in countries where the schools are often owned & operated by the Catholic Church (and taught by nuns or missionaries), they are not being educated about sex at all. They are only told it is a sin.

And since people are going to have sex regardless of whatever the Catholic Church says, it leaves these people vulnerable to diseases that they should have been taught how to protect themselves.

If the Catholic Church were to change its policy towards AIDS and condoms, they already have a network of schools and churches that they could use to educate people about the dangers of AIDS, and the importance of wearing a condom.

But its not going to happen while the new pope is around. No, the new German pope is quite happy to let people die while he walks around in his silk robes and his gold...

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