Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International (HLI), released the following statement today to mark the occasion of World AIDS Day 2016:
“Despite enormous medical advancements over the past decades to combat HIV/AIDS, many of our brothers and sisters around the world continue to suffer, and the spread of the deadly virus remains a primary concern for all worldwide who seek peace and justice.
“The Catholic Church has been on the front line of the international fight against HIV/AIDS providing care and support for the sick and their families. But in addition to providing medical and financial support, the Church, through the teachings of and faith in Jesus Christ, also serves as an educational resource to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, and offer hope for the future.
“Sexual contact is the primary way the virus is transmitted, and we’re told by many international organizations that condoms are the solution to this problem. Sadly, though hundreds of millions of dollars are spent convincing our brothers and sisters in need that all they need to do is use condoms, we still await the first scientifically proven case of condoms stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Even the Center for Disease Control states: “Condom use cannot provide absolute protection against any STD [including HIV]. As Pope Benedict XVI stressed in 2009 while traveling to Africa, AIDS cannot be overcome by advertising slogans and the distribution of condoms. Such false solutions risk worsening the problem, and only through society-wide promotion of abstinence and fidelity in marriage has any nation ever seen a significant decrease in transmission rates.
“The country of Uganda is a perfect example. There, the president instituted a national program encouraging abstinence and fidelity, and while in 1992 the adult HIV/AIDS infection rate was an astounding 30% in the capital of Kampala and other large urban areas, the adult HIV/AIDS infection rate dropped 80% in just ten years following the adoption of the “ABC” model (Abstinence, Be Faithful, and Condoms as a last resort – although condoms were not widely promoted as a solution to AIDS). While no studies have shown definitively that the increased use of condoms has stopped the spread of AIDS, the Ugandan model and other examples around the world prove that this deadly virus can only be overcome with a change in the behavior and attitudes of our brothers and sisters; one which emphasizes respect for the dignity of the human person and for sexuality as it was intended. Unfortunately, do to reversals in the “ABC” model, the HIV/AIDS infection rate is once again on the rise.
“On this World AIDS Day, we should be reminded that to overcome this deadly virus, communities must be encouraged to turn away from the propaganda of population control groups and the contraception agenda, and embrace a lifestyle that respects the dignity of the human person, and promotes fidelity in marriage between man and woman.”