By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

  TEGULCIGALPA, Honduras, October 25, 2007 ( – A United Nations official charged with overseeing AIDS prevention programs in Central America is blaming the Catholic Church’s condemnation of contraception for the perpetuation of the disease.

  Alberto Stella, Coordinator for the United Nations AIDS (UNAIDS) program in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica, told Reuters recently that “In Latin America the use of condoms has been demonized, but if they were used in every relation I guarantee the epidemic would be resolved in the region.”  He attributed this “demonization” to the influence of Catholicism, according to the news agency.

  Martin Ssempa, a Ugandan AIDS activist who has long decried the United Nation’s anti-abstinence position, denounced the statement in an interview with LifeSiteNews.

“There is absolutely no scientific evidence to back up what Mr. Alberto is saying,” said Ssempa.  “Condoms have not reduced HIV-AIDS anywhere in the world…in fact, to the contrary, higher condoms across Africa have resulted in higher HIV. If we look across Africa, the countries with the highest condoms, they include Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, these are the countries which also have higher HIV. And if we look at countries with less condoms, such as Uganda, Senegal, Kenya, these are the countries also with less HIV.”

  Ssempa noted that “UNAIDS is demonizing the Catholic Church unfairly. In fact, in countries where the Catholic Church is strong, there is lower HIV than places where the Catholic Church is not. Higher condoms have not resulted in lower HIV. In fact, it is the contrary.”

  As LifeSiteNews reported earlier this year, statistics bear out Ssempa’s contention. Reporter Hillary White noted on March 5th that “2003 statistics from the World Factbook of the US Central Intelligence Agency, shows Burundi at 62% Catholic with 6% AIDS infection rate. Angola’s population is 38% Roman Catholic and has 3.9% AIDS rate. Ghana is 63% Christian, with in some regions as much as 33% Catholic and has 3.1% AIDS rate. Nigeria, divided almost evenly between the strongly Muslim north and Christian and “animist” south, has 5.4% AIDS rate” (see article at

  Despite its insistence on promoting condom use over abstinence, Ssempa notes that “UNAIDS has no success story. UNAIDS cannot point at any country where they have given advice and that country has brought HIV down.”  Even the World Bank has conceded the problem, he said.

  Ssempa speculates that, as with the scandalous oil-for-food program, UN officials may be benefiting from relationships with pharmaceutical companies that produce the condoms.

“I am suspicious of the UNAIDS relationship with condom companies, in light of recent oil-for-food scandals and the corruption that has been exposed in the UN, I am suspicious about…the cause of UNAIDS officials spending billions of dollars on condoms without any evidence to back them up,” he told LifeSiteNews.

  Dr. Edward C. Green, a research scientist at the Harvard Center for Population and Development, has also speculated about economic motives behind the puzzling support for methods that have proven ineffective in preventing AIDS transmission. “It is by no means clear that empirical evidence can overcome ideological blinders or compete with the big business in pharmaceutical products that AIDS prevention has become,” he wrote in a recent article for the Weekly Standard.

  Contact Information:

  UNAIDS Secretariat:
  20, Avenue Appia
  CH-1211 Geneva 27
  Telephone: +41.22.791.3666
  Fax: +41.22.791.4187