SYDNEY, July 29, 2005 ( – A letter by Australian bioethicist Dr. Amin Abboud published in the July 30 edition of the British Medical Journal notes that “A regression analysis done on the HIV situation in Africa indicates that the greater the percentage of Catholics in any country, the lower the level of HIV.”

Dr. Abboud’s letter comes in response to an article published in the journal’s June 4 issue which wonders if newly elected Pope Benedict XVI will alter the Church’s teaching on condoms in light of the burgeoning HIV/AIDS epidemic. Abboud asserts that “On the basis of statistical evidence it would seem detrimental to the HIV situation in Africa if he did authorise such a change.”

“On the basis of data from the World Health Organization,” reports Abboud, “in Swaziland where 42.6% have HIV, only 5% of the population is Catholic. In Botswana, where 37% of the adult population is HIV infected, only 4% of the population is Catholic. In South Africa, 22% of the population is HIV infected, and only 6% is Catholic. In Uganda, with 43% of the population Catholic, the proportion of HIV infected adults is 4%.”

The bioethicist notes that “A concerted campaign, also in medical journals, has been under way after the death of John Paul II to attribute responsibility to him for the death of many Africans.” Adding that “Such accusations must always be supported by solid data. None has been presented so far.”

Abboud concludes his letter stating, “The causes of the HIV crisis in Africa need to be found elsewhere. The solutions must go beyond latex. If anything, the holistic approach to sexuality that Catholicism advocates, based on the evidence at hand, seems to save lives. I would welcome an editorial on that or, as a minimum, some evidence based advice on HIV.”

See the letter in the BMJ:



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