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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

AIDS and received wisdom

So it looks as if the Vatican is about to soften its line on condoms. About time too, eh?

A small piece of news from Pope Benedict's native land (here in German): 2005 was a bumper year for the rubber goods industry. In response to the huge "mach's mit" (literally "do it with") public health campaign (featuring posters with multi-coloured condoms arranged into pictures of teddy bears, sheep, etc. - I pity parents of inquisitive seven-year-olds) the number of singles under 45 using condoms rose from 70% to 75%. Congratulations all round. And new cases of HIV infection? Well, now you mention it, they were up 13% on 2004.

My entirely redundant advice to the Pope: humane pragmatism, yes, but not at the expense of the home truths that a sick sexual culture needs to be told.

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