Human Rights Campaign on Pope Benedict’s Remarks that Condoms Increase HIV Infections

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Trevor Thomas | Phone: 202/216.1547
Rachel Balick | Phone: 202/216.1516

Human Rights Campaign on Pope Benedict’s Remarks that Condoms Increase HIV Infections

Religion and Faith Director Harry Knox: “The Pope’s statement that condoms don't help control the spread of HIV, but rather condoms increase infection rates, is hurting people in the name of Jesus.”

WASHINGTON -
The
Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded today to
remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI while traveling to Africa, where he
claimed that condoms increase HIV infections.  Talking to the
Associated Press, Benedict said the Roman Catholic Church is in the
forefront of the battle against AIDS.  “You can't resolve it with the
distribution of condoms," the Pope said. “On the contrary, it increases
the problem.”
 
“The
Pope’s statement that condoms don't help control the spread of HIV, but
rather condoms increase infection rates, is hurting people in the name
of Jesus,” said Harry Knox, director of the Human Rights Campaign’s
Religion & Faith Program.  “On a continent where millions of people
are infected with HIV, it is morally reprehensible to spread such
blatant falsehoods.  The Pope’s rejection of scientifically proven
prevention methods is forcing Catholics in Africa to choose between
their faith and the health of their entire community.  Jesus was about
helping the marginalized and downtrodden, not harming them further.”
 
About
22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV,
according to UNAIDS.  In 2007, three-quarters of all AIDS deaths
worldwide were there, as well as two-thirds of all people living with
HIV. 
 
The
Pope’s remarks come in the same week the Washington Post reported at
least 3 percent of residents in the District of Columbia have HIV or
AIDS, elevating the disease to a “severe” epidemic. 
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The Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of over 750,000 members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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