Leading the fight against aids

Statements by Pope Benedict XVI. on fighting AIDS have led to debates in Germany. Hamburg Auxiliary Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke rejects making condoms taboo, but at the same time warned against overestimating them. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi refers to the church's fight against HIV and the pope visits an anti-AIDS project and demands free medication. The German AIDS-Hilfe had called the Vatican's categorical rejection of the condom "cynical".

Benedict XVI. had said on Tuesday at the beginning of his trip to Africa that the AIDS epidemic could not be overcome by distributing condoms; condoms only increased the problems. Rather, it is a matter of morally correct behavior and special attention to the sick. SPD federal ministers Ulla Schmidt and Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul contradicted the pope without explicitly mentioning him. "Modern development cooperation must give the poorest of the poor access to family planning resources. And that includes, in particular, the use of condoms. Anything else would be irresponsible," they said together in Berlin. Condoms saved lives. Wieczorek-Zeul and Schmidt stressed that condoms play a crucial role in combating the immunodeficiency disease. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, he said, 22 million people are infected with the HIV virus.

Holistic approach In a guest editorial for the weekly newspaper "Die Zeit," Auxiliary Bishop Jaschke writes that "the Church is not in a sinister anti-condom corner from which it wants to intimidate people". Jaschke defended the position of the Catholic church to AIDS: It pursues a holistic beginning of clearing-up, Vorbeugung and assistance for ill ones. Human sexuality includes responsibility for oneself and others. Each individual must therefore be strengthened in his or her morality. At the same time, the bishop did not reject the use of condoms: "Those who have AIDS and are sexually active, those who seek changing partnerships, must protect others and themselves," he writes. If a husband with AIDS communicates with his wife, then "protection is called for". At the same time, the bishop warned against "myths and trivializations". The distribution of condoms alone cannot solve the problem. Men often rejected its use. Ignorance, poor hygiene and inhumane living conditions are a dangerous breeding ground for the spread of AIDS. Jaschke praised the so-called A-B-C method, which is propagated by the state and church in Uganda, among other countries: The letter A stands for abstinence, B for "remain faithful" and C for the use of condoms, in English "condoms". Jaschke also referred to the church's worldwide commitment to combating AIDS. Every second institution in the fight against AIDS worldwide is supported by the churches, every fourth by the Catholic Church. The goal of their work, he said, is also to bring sick people out of their isolation and lethargy, to break the silence in the face of the disease and to care for AIDS patients.

Condoms "no panacea" The head of the German editorial office of Radio Vatican in Rome, Father Eberhard von Gemmingen, defended the head of the church. "Pope Benedict XVI. has not banned the condom as strictly as it is made out to be," he told Deutsche Welle. "The pope just said the condom is not a 'solution'. Hopefully everyone agrees on this," said the Father. The solution lies in overcoming poverty. The UN organization Unaids declared in Geneva that condoms are an important part of AIDS prevention. However, there is no "panacea" against the immunodeficiency disease. In the educational work, it must therefore also be a matter of reducing the number of sexual partners. According to Unaids, more than 7,000 people worldwide contract the disease every day.400 people to Aids.The director of the German Institute for Medical Mission, Gisela Schneider, also emphasized the complexity of the AIDS problem. "Condoms alone cannot banish the danger, but they are an important weapon in the fight against Aids," Schneider told the epd in Tubingen. Successful AIDS prevention must also take into account cultural ies, such as gender roles.

Vatican spokesman: Church maintains line on AIDS ie Pope Benedict XVI. According to Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, does not want to set new accents on the ie of AIDS during his trip to Africa. With his statement before arriving in Cameroon, the Pope had merely confirmed the position of his predecessor John Paul II. reaffirmed on this ie, Lombardi told reporters in Yaounde on Wednesday. In the fight against HIV, the Catholic Church relies on appropriate sexual education, effective therapies to interrupt the transmission of the virus from infected mothers to their children, and social and pastoral support for those affected. Lombardi objected to 'ideology of reliance on condoms'. The reliance on condoms as a solution to the AIDS problem belies the importance of education and responsible sexual behavior in this context, he. Moreover, a not insignificant part of the infections do not occur sexually, but due to a lack of hygiene. The Church is not indifferent to the sick and suffering, but on the contrary has traditionally shown great commitment to health care. With regard to AIDS, however, she also emphasized personal responsibility and the value of marriage, the Vatican spokesman said. In the morning, Benedict XVI. Outside his official program in the Cameroonian capital welcomed 67 participants in an AIDS project. The young doctors and social workers from various African countries are currently completing a training course in new therapies against AIDS. The event is part of the "Dream" program of the Catholic Community of Sant'Egidio, which works in the medical accompaniment of people infected with HIV. Benedict XVI. considers the initiative exemplary and groundbreaking in the fight against AIDS.

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