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UN warns of HIV epidemic in Catholic-dominated Philippines

UN warns of HIV epidemic in Catholic-dominated Philippines

The Philippines is one of only seven countries in the world where HIV is on the rise, and the increase is fueling a debate in the staunchly Catholic country over condom use.

Humphrey Gorriceta, one of the few infected gay men in the Philippines willing to speak publicly, told AFP that people need to get educated.  "There are efforts to incorporated HIV education in the mainstream educational system," he said, "but the problem is that the Catholic church — the hardcore Catholic church — is holding us back.  They are saying that it's not appropriate."

The United Nations is warning of an HIV epidemic in the Philippines, with low condom use largely to blame.  Ten new cases are being detected every day, which is three times the rate of just a few years ago.  Nearly 90 percent of the new cases are among gay men.  For fifteen years, campaigners have been lobbying for legislation that would allow the government to give out free condoms to the poor and make sex education mandatory in the schools.  The Catholic church has succeeded in blocking their efforts.

Father Joel Jason of the Commission of Family and Life told AFP's reporter that "HIV and AIDs are a behavioral problem.  [...] It is people's lack of discipline in terms of their sexual behavior."

Condemns are available in supermarkets and pharmacies.

Not only is HIV on the rise in the Philippines, but so are teen pregnancies.  As reported in June, over the past decade, there has been a 70 percent increase in the number of teenage pregnancies there.  The Catholic church has been successful in blocking sex education and legislation enabling the distribution of artificial birth control that is part of a reproductive health bill.


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About D. Beeksma

One of the growing crowd of American "nones" herself, Deborah is a prolific writer who finds religion, spirituality and the impact of belief (and non-belief) on culture inspiring, fascinating and at times, disturbing. She hosts the God Discussion show and handles the site's technical work. Her education and background is in business, ecommerce and law.
  • Alex Benziger.G

    UN warns of HIV epidemic in Catholic-dominated Philippines-This is some perverted fellows dealing the HIV issues. The perverted fellows against the Catholic Church, therefore they planned manner to tarnish the Catholic Church.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      Only because the Catholic Church and other religious groups are harming people, their health, and lives.

      • Jack Johnson

        Are you serious, Mriana, or are you really as dumb as a bag of hammers? The Catholic Church teaches chastity and holiness. The Church does not put a gun to anyone's head and force them into sodomy. If more people actually LISTENED to the Catholic Church, there would be no AIDS outbreak in the first place! Fact is, the Catholic Church, through Catholic hospitals and ministries, treats more AIDS victims than any other organization on earth. Get a clue, lady!

        • Deborah_B

          Jack, would you consider toning down the language? This forum is for discussion — which includes disagreement — but not name calling.

  • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

    Once again, religion is spreading disease. You'd think people would wise up and stop allowing the Church to control them and the information they receive. The propaganda the Church pumps out is invariably inaccurate and potentially life-threatening.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joann.buff.1 Joann Buff

    Both the Philippines and Thailand discovered their first HIV case in 1984-the World Health Org predicted both would see 70k-85,000 AIDs-related deaths by 1999. Both had similar population numbers at the time. Thailand chose the UN recommended 100% condom use program to battle HIV, the Philippines chose abstinence. Which was more successful?

    By 2009, Thailand had suffered over 613,000 AIDs related deaths. The Philippines? 318.
    The dissident group, "Catholics for Choice" started running "Condom4Life" advertisements as early as 2001 when the Filipino HIV cases started to rise. The Filipino DOH changed its tune around 2007 and started promoting condoms, and now HIV is on the rise.

    Read "Broken Promises: How the AIDS Establishment Betrayed the Developing World" by Ed Green, a self-professed liberal-progressive agnostic.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LYGUGSPODDFQALP7DZO5VECZDI Therese Z

    I don't get the commenters' denseness. The Church teaches that sexual activity only take place within the marriage of a man and woman. And that the act remain open to life. If both partners are faithful, then what do you know? no sexually transmitted diseases!
    Whatever unmarried and/or gay people are doing are in direct contradiction to what the Church teaches. So what are they complaining about? They can buy condoms in the stores, per the article. Then buy them and use them, if they are so sure that will take of everything.

    • Deborah_B

      Not all young people in the schools, who would receive sex education classes, are Catholic though — are they? And I'm willing to bet that Catholic teenagers fool around, too, despite the church's teachings.

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.olsen.121 Peter Olsen

    We are seeing the same sort of thing in this country as in the Phillipines but mostly in areas requiring abstinence only sex education. These areas have higher rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases than do areas emphasizing comprehensive sex education. We can argue about social causes, but it seems as if children educated in abstinence only programs are about as likely to have sex as children educated in comprehensive programs. The difference is that children from abstinence only programs haven't been taught the ways to prevent pregnancy or infection, so they are much more vulnerable to both.

    Another factor is that sometimes “abstinence” construed as “vaginal abstinence.” So, anal and oral sex are okay. But these are exactly the means by which HIV spread so rapidly through the gay community in San Francisco. These same practices could spread the disease rapidly again, but this time through a heterosexual community of abstinence–only trained tean-agers and young adults.

    There is not doubt that Abstinence is the best way to prevent pregnancy and the spread of disease. But some children aren't staying abstinent, even those who have promised to do so. Those children are facing risks for which no parent — or preacher — should wish.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Juana-Oner/100003160962177 Juana Oner

    The sad thing is that traditional cultures are being decimated everywhere in the world as soon as Western culture moves in, dumping constant impure, immodest, hedonistic and violent, and yes, also, perverse media into the culture. This distorts the traditional modesty and morality of peoples and the result is increasing illegitimacy, STDs and AIDS.

    People who actually live the Church teaching don't have these problems (unless they got AIDS from tainted blood supplies in a hospital). But these poor kids hardly stand a chance when they are being brainwashed by TV and the Internet to look up to a bunch of promiscuous movie stars instead of looking to the Faith.
    Same in Africa. As far as I know,those cultures were not eaten up with STDs and unwed pregnancies before modern Western culture started brainwashing them…except for problems colonialism caused, which also is the fault of greedy westerners! Not that traditional cultures were some kind of paradise, but they did not have the kind of sexual immorality that modern westerners are teaching and even imposing upon the world. And PS, I'm a westerner myself, but our culture has become totally immoral and exporting it is just ruining the whole world.

  • Peter

    This sounds like a replay of what happened
    in Africa and the actions of the Catholic Church there. Then, Vatican prelates
    openly lied about the effectiveness of condoms in combating in AIDS. For
    instance, in 2003,
    the president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family
    publicly stated: "The AIDS virus is roughly 450 times smaller than
    the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the 'net' that is
    formed by the condom." The archbishop of Nairobi said condoms spread
    HIV. Some priests told parishioners that condoms were impregnated with
    the virus. Pope John Paul II: "It
    seems profoundly damaging to the dignity of the human being, and for this reason
    morally illicit, to support a prevention of AIDS that is based on a recourse to
    means and remedies that violate an authentically human sense of sexuality." John Paul’s successor,
    Benedict, in 2009 continued to tell poor African Catholics that condoms were
    "sinful" and said they were making the epidemic worse. How many lives
    were lost and children orphaned because of this rigid adherence to a false
    dogma? But, of course, the church never apologizes or is ever wrong. Nor did
    the Vatican or Benedict publicly rebuked those
    responsible. In a sane
    world, a case could be made that the actions by these "holy men" were
    Crimes Against Humanity.

  • Tony de New York

    'Once again, religion is spreading disease'
    That's NOT true!
    We the people r RESPONSABLE 4 our ACTIONS, we want to have ALL without no consequences what so ever.

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