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Church urged to promote condoms: CEN 9.11.09 p 6. September 20, 2009

Posted by geoconger in CAPA, Church of England Newspaper, Health/HIV-AIDS.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Abstinence and prophylactics are key ingredients to combating the spread of HIV/AIDS, government and civic leaders told a gathering of the Anglican Archbishops of Africa to coordinate the church’s response to HIV/AIDS.

The Sept 1-2 meeting at the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi brought together church and NGOs leaders with government ministers and was organized by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) as part of the organizations five-year AIDS awareness programme launched in 2007.

Archbishops urged to back condoms in fight against Aids

The Vice President of Kenya, Kalonzo Musyoka lauded abstinence as the best method for stopping the spread of the disease. This meant a return to the “strict observance of our values as Christians,” Mr Musyoka said, adding HIV/AIDS could be stopped if “we keep the promise of fidelity.”

The chairman of CAPA, Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean, said the church should offer both pastoral and practical support to its 40 million members. “For example, the use of condoms can help to check the spread of AIDS. So preventive measures have to be courageously presented, and this should be accompanied by appropriate teaching on human sexuality and reproductive health,” he said, according to local press reports.

The Anglican support for condoms as a prophylactic against the transmission of HIV/AIDS is not shared by the Catholic Church in Africa, which has repeatedly denounced their use as immoral. However, the Anglican support for condom use to control disease was first enunciated almost 90 years ago. After initial protests, the Church of England acquiesced to the distribution of condoms to soldiers to control the spread of venereal diseases during the First World War. The 1920 Lambeth Conference condemned all “unnatural means of conception avoidance,” but the 1930 Conference relaxed this ban.

According to a statement released by CAPA, the conference was designed to “create the space in which the two groups of leaders” could build the “leadership required to overcome the pandemic;” work towards providing “universal access to HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and care through social community mobilization strategies;” and “spread and strengthen the network of leaders committed to advocating for the behaviors and resources needed to halt and reverse the pandemic.”

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