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October 9, 2003 8:49 AM   Subscribe

Vatican declares fresh Death all around. It seems the Vatican is telling people in countries with high AIDS infection not to use condoms, because the virus is small enough to pass through the porous latex. The World Health Organization believes condoms do reduce the risk of AIDS transmission. To which the Vatican's Cardinal Trujillo replied: "They are wrong about that... this is an easily recognisable fact."
posted by the fire you left me (93 comments total)

 
I actually feel sick.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:51 AM on October 9, 2003


I'm assuming this took you more than 7 minutes to write up and post, and that's why you didn't realize that it's a double of the post immediately before it on the front page.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:54 AM on October 9, 2003


On the one hand, this is a double post. On the other hand, it doesn't go out of its way to insult religious people. So my advice to Matt (if he cares) is to axe the first one.
posted by languagehat at 8:55 AM on October 9, 2003


Alright, well, I posted this to the other thread. So here:


You know, when the vatican starts telling people what virus' do, I think they've forfeited that whole 'Religion does one thing, science another' argument they trot out when someone accuses them of irrelevance.

Perhaps they would be so kind as to explain their experimental data, and explain where they got it. Is there a secret condom testing room in the vatican? Is that why the pope always looks so tired? Or did the big G appear in a flash of light and, not bothering to mention anything about the middle east, say: "Condoms. Bad."?
posted by lumpenprole at 9:00 AM on October 9, 2003


For those scoring at home:

Science - 1
Catholicism - 0
posted by Adam_S at 9:09 AM on October 9, 2003


This is interesting because I had a biology teacher about 7 years ago who did in fact say that there are small pores in latex in which viruses can pass through. He explained this is often why surgeons wear two pairs of latex gloves while operating. Has the quality of the latex just improved, or was this untrue all along I wonder?
posted by banished at 9:15 AM on October 9, 2003


The pope obviously thinks your sperm is more important than you are.

WHAT.
THE.
FUCK.
POPE?
posted by bshort at 9:25 AM on October 9, 2003


Condom research was done at my university while I was there. I used to hang around with a couple of the researchers and there are in fact holes in a condom large enough to transmit a virus. They were working on condoms made from plastic rather than latex (which I believe are now on the market).

Anyway, unless you're boinking a pool of concentrated HIV you're still protected by a latex condom. There's just some risk that a virus will make its way through the hole in the condom. Of course that assumes there isn't some malevolent supernatural force routing every virus through the tiny hole in the condom.

On preview the surgeon is more likely to be soaking in fluids than your member. I also assume that having sex with a girl who's on her period would put you into whole new levels of risk.
posted by substrate at 9:25 AM on October 9, 2003


For those scoring at home:

Science - 1
Catholicism - 0


Considering how blindly many Catholics follow the pope, I say it's the other way around.

And what XQUZYPHYR said.

Incidentally, I heard that the next guy in line for Popedom is an African guy. Is this true? If so, I can't wait to hear what my ultra-Catholic bigot family members have to say about that!!
posted by archimago at 9:26 AM on October 9, 2003


Nope sorry nonsense. Substrate & banished you are incorrect. HIV does not hang out in isolation. HIV is found in proteins which are much much larger than the pores in latex. HIV cannot pass through the pores of a latex condom unless it is killed and removed from its host.

This is a red herring. All of this is FUD. It is wrong. And the idiots who espouse these positions should be shamed into actually thinking about the issues and educating themselves before they open their traps.
posted by filchyboy at 9:30 AM on October 9, 2003


Yet one more reason to boycott Christmas mass this year. This is so positively offensive, revolting and irresponsible.

Kenya - where an estimated 20% of people have the HIV virus

How truly heart-breaking... I still think that until rich white straight Christian American kids in the suburbs start dying, AIDS won't be paid as much attention/urgency as it should.

The archbishop of Nairobi, Raphael Ndingi Nzeki, said: "Aids... has grown so fast because of the availability of condoms."

What. The Fuck. God?! On preview: bshort beat me to it!

A quick Google on "latex pores aids microns" finds this Straight Dope article:

The biggest hole in the "porous latex theory"? HIV isn't some free-ranging microscopic bug; it's an intracellular virus, and it's these cells that would somehow have to squeeze through those fabled 5-micron holes.

Though later:

[I]t would be wrong to construe this to mean that HIV is transmitted only by cells. [A doctor] conceded that HIV may be transmitted by free virus as well. He did add that the viscosity of semen may hinder the passage of such virus through the latex barrier.
posted by ao4047 at 9:32 AM on October 9, 2003


No, no, I think it's good the Vatican says this. Because, you know, that's going to make people stop having sex. Which is the only way we should deal with the AIDS problem and the population problem, especially in regard to third world countries.

God damn it.
posted by nath at 9:34 AM on October 9, 2003


Damn. Filchyboy beat me to it.

Dear God. Is this a bad thing, in that hundreds of thousands of people take this seriously and will put themselves at further risk, or a good thing in that the Catholic Church keeps insisting on pushing itself towards the undeniably ridiculous and irrelevant? Both, I suppose. This is so unconscionable that it makes the molestation thing look relatively benign.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 9:34 AM on October 9, 2003


One more reason I'll raise a toast when JPII finally vacates his post.
posted by signal at 9:36 AM on October 9, 2003


Boy. What this is a bad year to be a Catholic.

I wonder if the priests who were buggering young boys wore condoms?

That's it, I quit. Anyone have another religion I could join?

I'm thinking about Scientology or perhaps Kabbalism, y'know, because they're hip.
posted by hipnerd at 9:37 AM on October 9, 2003


Jesus must be spinning in his grave.
posted by jack_mo at 9:42 AM on October 9, 2003


The church is kind of missing the point. What they should say is: Look, we believe sex outside of marriage is a sin. It will also vastly increase your chances of getting AIDS. You can either be a good Christian and save your own life and not go around fucking, or not. But if you choose not to, you might as well look out for yourself and use a condom. But you're going to hell anyway at this point, so it doesn't matter to us either way.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:44 AM on October 9, 2003


"Jesus must be spinning in his grave."

He actually ascended into heaven.

Anyways, I CAN'T believe John Paul II is going to get a nobel peace prize. They should come out today so I guess we'll see.
posted by LouieLoco at 9:47 AM on October 9, 2003


Perhaps they would be so kind as to explain their experimental data, and explain where they got it.

Um, this is the Vatican we're taking about here. The Faith PeopleTM. Hard evidence is like kryptonite.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:50 AM on October 9, 2003


In other news from the Vatican:

World is flat, Galileo is a heretic

Sign up now to buy your ticket to Heaven

Martin who?
posted by nofundy at 9:52 AM on October 9, 2003


we believe sex outside of marriage is a sin. It will also vastly increase your chances of getting AIDS.

People with HIV do get married.

Would the church tell me not to marry someone with HIV (which I've already done)? And if I did, should I not use condoms to protect myself?

I mean, I'm doomed to hell anyways for being gay, so I guess that the faster I get there the better for them.
posted by archimago at 9:52 AM on October 9, 2003


Unbelievable. I thought I'd heard all the shit the Vatican had to spew, but I was wrong. Between the pharmaceutical corp's trying to screw Africa for its last dime, Thabo Mbeki saying he doesn't know anyone with HIV, and this... how are we supposed to make any headway against this epidemic? 40+ million people are infected, and apparently that's not enough for the Catholic Church. The apocalypse can't come soon enough for some folks - they have to try to bring it about.
posted by stonerose at 9:52 AM on October 9, 2003


This is appalling--if the church is against contraception (which we all know they are), they shouldn't be making up lies about condoms to scare people too. (also, I had heard that lambskin condoms actually are more permeable--is that true?)
posted by amberglow at 9:54 AM on October 9, 2003


We should be celebrating this day! More deaths = more souls in Heaven! Everybody wants to be in Heaven, right? What's the problem here?

The only unalloyed Good is Death.
posted by aramaic at 9:58 AM on October 9, 2003


People with HIV do get married.

*sigh*

MetaFilter: Where even blatantly bombastic exaggerations need to be quibbled with.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:58 AM on October 9, 2003


The pope obviously thinks your sperm is more important than you are.

Well, every sperm is sacred, y'know.
posted by jonmc at 10:01 AM on October 9, 2003


"He actually ascended into heaven."

Must have been spinning pretty fast!
posted by Hackworth at 10:02 AM on October 9, 2003


> I heard that the next guy in line for Popedom is an African guy. Is this true?

I wouldn't be at all surprised. The future of Catholicism (and of religion generally) is in Africa, Asia and South America. What people think in western Europe and North America is small potatoes.

See, for instance Hardcore Christianity is GROWING. Note that the point applies to hardcore Islam and Hinduism as well.
posted by jfuller at 10:04 AM on October 9, 2003


I had a biology teacher about 7 years ago who did in fact say that there are small pores in latex in which viruses can pass through. He explained this is often why surgeons wear two pairs of latex gloves while operating.

I have met many doctors over the years, and I have never known one to wear double latex gloves, not even the surgical residents. I do remember the practice being mentioned in The Hot Zone, but the book does specifically point out that Ebola is a much more easily transmitted disease than AIDS. In fact in this case, the double latex gloves were accompanied by an entire environment suit. "Safe sex" does not even begin to describe the precautions needed to handle Ebola.
posted by ilsa at 10:08 AM on October 9, 2003


Space Coyote, I wasn't quibbling with your blatantly bombastic exaggeration, I was pointing out another point that the church is missing.

glass houses, my friend.
posted by archimago at 10:13 AM on October 9, 2003


The next Pope hasn't been selected yet, and will not be until John Paul is gone (one way or the other.)

Someone asked about lambskin condoms, yes HIV can pass through the pores of lambskin, which is why they should only by used by those in monogamous relationships who have been tested.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:15 AM on October 9, 2003


I use to hear all this bull all the time and it's hardly news, but it's worth repeating: you take abstinence i'll take your girl with or without fries.

That said, I have no data to add to this discussion , but my very wild guess is if condom really doesn't work at the virus level it still works with many others sexual diseases and it's an excellent anti conceptional device, so why should we demonize it ? We should rather appreciate this fantastic device.

on a tangent: jonmc: if the sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate !
posted by elpapacito at 10:17 AM on October 9, 2003


"Safe sex" does not even begin to describe the precautions needed to handle Ebola.

It's probably best not to have sex with someone that has ebola. There's just something unsexy about ejaculating out of your eyes and ears.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:19 AM on October 9, 2003


That's it, I quit. Anyone have another religion I could join?

I'd suggest some sort of paganism.
posted by nyxxxx at 10:25 AM on October 9, 2003


Apologies, archimage, it just feels that way sometimes I guess.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:33 AM on October 9, 2003


"Jesus must be spinning in his grave."

He actually ascended into heaven.


Was the launch tube rifled?
posted by Cerebus at 10:34 AM on October 9, 2003


*digs out sheaf of dusty papers entitled Brainstorming on Ways to Get Onesself Excommunicated From The Catholic Church*

*Looks at #1 - Hand out free condoms in Saint Peter's Square printed with the Pope's visage...*

Think I could get Trojan or Durex to sponsor me?
posted by romakimmy at 10:36 AM on October 9, 2003


SO glad that I'm a buddhist.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:38 AM on October 9, 2003


> The next Pope hasn't been selected yet, and will not be until John Paul is gone (one way or the other.)

But there's lots of speculation already. An Irish bookie has a Nigerian, Francis Cardinal Arinze at the top of the list at 4 to 1.
posted by jfuller at 10:41 AM on October 9, 2003


Pat Mustard: I'm a very careful man, Father.
Father Ted: Except when it comes to taking precautions in the bedroom!
Pat: You're not advocating the use of artificial contraception now, are you?
Father Ted: Well, ye......well, no...well, naturally.....well, not really....well, of course you'd............JUST FECK OFF!
posted by Shoeburyness at 10:48 AM on October 9, 2003


How in hell do these people have ANY credibility after their last half-dozen centuries?
posted by callmejay at 10:59 AM on October 9, 2003


Guilt.
posted by jonmc at 11:00 AM on October 9, 2003


That's it, I quit. Anyone have another religion I could join?

I'm a big fan of Unitarian Universalism. It's the only denomination named for 2 separate heresies against the Catholic Church.
posted by Irontom at 11:01 AM on October 9, 2003


Even if condoms didn't protect against HIV, they would still protect against other STDS, lesions from which greatly facilitate HIV infection.
posted by arisbe at 11:07 AM on October 9, 2003


Once again, the church is responsible for more and more deaths. Sickening. How do they expect people to sign on to their ideals with policies like this that fly in the face of reality?
posted by klaruz at 11:13 AM on October 9, 2003


Sex and the Holy City includes a Catholic nun advising her HIV-infected choirmaster against using condoms with his wife because "the virus can pass through".

In Lwak, near Lake Victoria, the director of an Aids testing centre says he cannot distribute condoms because of church opposition. Gordon Wambi told the programme: "Some priests have even been saying that condoms are laced with HIV/Aids."


I honestly hope that these claims are exaggerations. It would be heartbreaking to think that anybody in a position of influence over others (religiously affiliated or not) could do such a thing whether motivated by ignorance or a malicious intent.

Ditto monju_bosatsu, but if this kind of thing is happening I still worry about the people who resign their ability to think critically in deference to their spiritual leaders.
posted by Gif at 11:24 AM on October 9, 2003


That's it, I quit. Anyone have another religion I could join?

The Hot Tub Mystery Religion sounds like fun.
posted by homunculus at 11:26 AM on October 9, 2003


The glove industry and the condom industry (which is the poor stepchild of the latex glove industry) absolutely do not advocate wearing a double glove or a double condom. Layers of latex do not slide over each other without the use of some kind of lubricant. If you do manage to place a glove on top of a glove or a condom on top of a condom you greatly increase the likelihood there will be breakage.

Anecdotally there are doctors who may wear more than one glove but the reason I have been given is concern about the medical instruments cutting the latex. This is surely superstition though as latex is so thin if one glove is cut then two is surely cut just as well. In any event these folks who do this are very few and far between.

Plastic condoms & gloves are in fact being developed in labs, and some have come to market, but not because of any misplaced concern about the pores in latex. They are being developed actively because of liability issues related to latex allergies. People die from the latex in the built environment and in condoms and latex gloves in particular. When latex is exposed to oxygen it oxidizes and releases proteins into the air. For those with latex allergies these proteins can cause a complete shut down of the respiratory system. In our lifetimes we will see the introduction of more and more plastic alternatives to condoms (including hypo-allergenic latex which does not release free proteins) in order to avoid the insurance and business liabilities inherent in latex use.

While it is theoretically possible that HIV free virus could serve as the source of an infection it is statistically irrelevent to the question and has no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether the pores in latex allow for the transmission of the HIV virus.
posted by filchyboy at 11:29 AM on October 9, 2003


Oh btw here's picture of me & George just to show you how much I know about condoms and the latex industry!
posted by filchyboy at 11:40 AM on October 9, 2003


(also, I had heard that lambskin condoms actually are more permeable--is that true?)

YES, that is true. Lambskin condoms are no good for keeping the pesky syphilis and HIV away.

From a U.S. Centers for Disease Control Website about HIV transmission:

"In laboratories, viruses occasionally have been shown to pass through natural membrane ("skin" or lambskin) condoms, which may contain natural pores and are therefore not recommended for disease prevention (they are documented to be effective for contraception)."

By the way, the Catholic Church aren't the only ones pissing on condoms as an anti-disease mechanism. The federal gubment ain't so good at it either.

Do a Google for "how to use a condom" restricted to .gov--there is basically ONE (ONE!!) site devoted to actual instructions on how this works. It's an FDA page. Yoohoo?! NIH?! CDC?! Where are yooouuu?

As far as I'm concerned, the absence of a sexualsafety.gov Website is an absolute dereliction of duty on the part of the federal government.
posted by jengod at 11:41 AM on October 9, 2003


How do they expect people to sign on to their ideals with policies like this that fly in the face of reality?

Yeah, I don't get it either. Especially since it's hard for someone to believe in your imaginary friend in the sky when they're dead.
posted by bshort at 11:52 AM on October 9, 2003


jengod, yes the US government has pissed on condoms and safer sex practices pretty much as long as we have had a government. The only reason condoms are available is because of lawsuits. The only reason the government has not banned them to please the Christians is because it turns out we can't fight our wars without condoms. And that is simply unacceptable. Therefore we have to make "allowances" for condoms and their dirty users in order to keep our military strong.
posted by filchyboy at 11:56 AM on October 9, 2003


Look, it's pretty simple: God wants you to catch AIDS and die. He invented the disease, and the Pope is just doing God's work, making sure that people suffer.

It's part of the big plan. Don't criticise, rejoice!
posted by Blue Stone at 12:01 PM on October 9, 2003


Condoms make the baby Jesus cry.
posted by nofundy at 12:23 PM on October 9, 2003


It's not condoms, nofundy, it's that plastic bag you gave him to play with.
posted by jfuller at 12:52 PM on October 9, 2003


As far as I'm concerned, the absence of a sexualsafety.gov Website is an absolute dereliction of duty on the part of the federal government.

You never know -- if it would be anything like ready.gov, they might be doing us a favor by not having it. Or subcontracting it to the Onion.

On another note, sexualsafety.org is available.

You know, when the vatican starts telling people what virus' do, I think they've forfeited that whole 'Religion does one thing, science another' argument they trot out when someone accuses them of irrelevance.

I have to largely agree, and I'm probably pretty religious as far as MeFites go. While health angles aren't a bad thing to look at in a spiritual practice, the main arguments for spiritual/metaphysical codes of sexual behavior should be spiritual/metaphysical. Or maybe something like what Space Coyote said.

But a04047: I still think that until rich white straight Christian American kids in the suburbs start dying, AIDS won't be paid as much attention/urgency as it should.

From what I understand, you can make an argument that AIDS receives a disproportionate amount of attention, in terms of funding and awareness compared to its place in causes of death. And transmission of AIDS seems to depend somewhat (*not* universally) on participation in at risk activities that are lifestyle choices. Hence some folks indifference to it.

That's no excuse for this kind of announcement from the pope, though: encouraging riskier behavior is wrong, and that's what's happening here.

Also, thanks to filchboy and a04047, though, for the clarification about the details on risk associated with latex's porousness.
posted by weston at 1:03 PM on October 9, 2003


First, the FPP's first sentence is immoral and completely misleading. Second, for those who do not believe, I would strongly recommend to think about AIDS and other STDs in terms of something which can be avoided mainly in a context of either 1)chastity or 2)self-controlled monogamic relationships. At any rate, promiscuity is a very bad idea; do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
posted by 111 at 1:31 PM on October 9, 2003


A sampling:

Condom effectiveness in reducing heterosexual HIV transmission.

The real problem with male condoms is nonuse.

Effectiveness of latex condoms as a barrier to human immunodeficiency virus-sized particles under conditions of simulated use.

I haven't seen the Vatican's peer-reviewed study on the ineffectiveness of condoms.... but then again, I so rarely check the journals for even religion's long-promised study refuting heliocentrism.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:44 PM on October 9, 2003


First, the FPP's first sentence is immoral and completely misleading.

Haw.
posted by interrobang at 1:46 PM on October 9, 2003


111, what the hell does your opinions about chastity and self-controlled monogamic relationships have anything to remotely do with the Vatican lying about the benefit of condoms? This is the modern day equivalent of Carrie's Mom telling her vaginal blood is the work of Satan.

In case you never.. you know... listened to anyone else, AIDS does not equal promiscuity or polygamy. A happily married person in a single, loving relationship will risk giving AIDS to their monogamous sexual partner, even if they've waited until the wedding night, if they don't use a condom.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:47 PM on October 9, 2003


...and by "haw", I mean: what do you mean by "immoral"? Is it "blasphemous", too? Maybe even "treasonous"?
posted by interrobang at 1:53 PM on October 9, 2003


At any rate, promiscuity is a very bad idea

...and is punishable by slow lingering death, and an eternity in hell!
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:07 PM on October 9, 2003


Ok, even if the virus itself is smaller than the pores in latex, how is the virus going to travel through those pores?

I mean, the virus is found in mucus, blood, etc., but all of those molecules are far larger than these pores.

So what gives? Does it float through on its own?
posted by eas98 at 2:32 PM on October 9, 2003


So what gives? Does it float through on its own?

It gets pushed by a tiny angel that looks like Tom DeLay.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:41 PM on October 9, 2003


> the virus is found in mucus, blood, etc., but all of those
> molecules are far larger than these pores.

filter out all the macromolecules and you still have a fair amount of, y'know, H2O.
posted by jfuller at 2:44 PM on October 9, 2003


Oh, people, we were doing so well until someone paid attention to 111...
posted by solistrato at 2:51 PM on October 9, 2003


Don't feed the troll.
posted by bshort at 2:54 PM on October 9, 2003


I've been trying to keep my fingers still but I've failed. There really is only one foolproof method to avoid HIV transmission.
That the vast majority of commentators on this topic don't point this out is an ideological choice. It is disappointing that people who generally share my political viewpoint won't admit this truth. (Remember it's supposed to be the "fuzzy math" tax cutters who bend fact to their will, not us.)
I'm not catholic, I find the church's teaching on things like birth control to be completely counterproductive and harmful especially to those in the world who are least advantaged economically.
posted by Octaviuz at 3:02 PM on October 9, 2003


No Octaviuz there is not.
posted by filchyboy at 3:33 PM on October 9, 2003


There really is only one foolproof method to avoid HIV transmission.

<sarcasm>Yes, and that has been spectacularly successful.</sarcasm>
posted by bshort at 3:37 PM on October 9, 2003


There really is only one foolproof method to avoid HIV transmission

The only foolproof method of avoiding HIV infection is to be dead.

Sexual abstinence is far from foolproof. You can still receive tainted blood, even if the odds are thankfully against it. And you can still be caught in a violent situation where an infected person's blood gets onto your eyes or other mucous membranes.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:43 PM on October 9, 2003


Octaviuz -- don't be so coy. What is this method of which you speak?

Do you mean raping really young virgins (which I understand is the "fool proof" method that many in Africa currently practice)

Oh know, you must mean clean needle exchanges.

Or maybe you mean killing carriers before they have a chance to spread the disease through fluid exchange.

Oh, if only there were a way to know for sure that somebody was a carrier. Maybe a sign from god or a torture induced confession and naming of others with whom the guilty have had contact.
posted by willnot at 3:45 PM on October 9, 2003


It gets pushed by a tiny angel that looks like Tom DeLay.

LOL!
posted by homunculus at 3:45 PM on October 9, 2003


Never mind that medicine has been wrong before (or else too optimistic) as regards prophylaxis and viral mutation. Let's assume, for the sake of the argument, that condoms can be one option as a partial safeguard against STDs. Even in this case, perhaps part of the message the Church is trying to spread is that condoms are not a guarantee that you can unreflectively abuse your body over and over again with no further consequences from any point of view whatsoever (religious, moral, ethical, scientific etc).

In an age where there is a distorted, evil ideology of "do whatever you like" within certain subgroups, it may seem strange to people who've distanced themselves from religion that the Church talks about matters such as this, but it is very much part of the attributions of the Church to protect and give advice to its followers. I'm thankful for that.

solistrato, bshort, shouldn't you people be worried about HIV? Don't try to blame the messenger...
posted by 111 at 3:49 PM on October 9, 2003


I've been trying to keep my fingers still but I've failed.

No, no - this is the confessional booth for people who have used condoms. The confessional for chronic masturbators is a few pews over.
posted by stonerose at 3:52 PM on October 9, 2003


There really is only one foolproof method to avoid HIV transmission.

IV drug use. Rape.

These alone, all other transmission methods aside, give people HIV. You want to get moral, let's talk child brides of HIV-infected men, child prostitutes all over the world, spouses of unfaithful partners. The vatican says condoms don't work and those people are just that much more vulnerable, because the people infecting them have one more excuse not to wear a condom.

(I'm not stepping to 111 cause my shoes are too pretty.)
posted by blissbat at 3:56 PM on October 9, 2003


...perhaps part of the message the Church is trying to spread...

Weakest, most limply qualified rationalization I've heard in a while.
posted by cortex at 4:04 PM on October 9, 2003


I am trying to figure out how having sex with my girlfriend becomes "unreflective abuse of my body".

It's even funnier when you think that "self-abuse" is by contrast entirely risk-free.

I'm all for reflective abuse, of course, as long as it's safe, sane and consensual.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:05 PM on October 9, 2003


sex is naughty
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:35 PM on October 9, 2003


At any rate, promiscuity is a very bad idea; do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

Well, sure, it's a bad idea, it's just that it works so well in practice.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 4:40 PM on October 9, 2003


Of course I haven't heard anyone advocating promiscuity. Besides the very obvious fact that promiscuity is in the eye of the beholder promiscuity has nothing whatsoever to do with the question of whether condoms can be relied upon to serve as a prophylactic.
posted by filchyboy at 6:48 PM on October 9, 2003


I would just like to point out that we are talking about a religion that believes in the concept of virgin birth.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:14 PM on October 9, 2003


I attended a wonderful talk the other day by Doras Chirwa, CARE Canada's head of HIV programming in Zambia. She spoke of what struck me as a very reasonable policy approach, which seems to be yielding good preliminary results: the ABC approach. A=Abstain; if you can't abstain, B=Be monogamous; regardless, C=use Condoms.

What's the problem here? Other than on mystical grounds, who can disagree with this?
posted by stonerose at 7:48 PM on October 9, 2003


The thing that bugs me the most is not the idea that using birth control or whatever devices is immoral (aside from me disagreeing with it,) it's that the Vatican is pushing falsehoods about it. It seems like trying to reduce murder by attacking the effectiveness of weapons.

willnot:Maybe, just maybe, it's bad form to accuse someone of advocating raping young women when they pretty much agree with you?

blissbat:I really don't think the availability of condoms will have any effect on HIV transmission through IV use, and I'm especially sure about it in regards to rape.
posted by Snyder at 10:16 PM on October 9, 2003


You can either be a good Christian and save your own life and not go around fucking, or not. But if you choose not to, you might as well look out for yourself and use a condom. But you're going to hell anyway at this point, so it doesn't matter to us either way.

This, for me, highlights one of the great hypocrisies  of orthodox Christian (hell, any Abrahamic religion) activities. Jesus said "Give unto Ceasar what is Caesar's". I interpret this passage as indicating that even Jesus intended Christianity to be something separate from the state, something with no right to advocate laws and regulations imposed on the population as a whole. If you choose to be a Christian, you choose to live under an additional set of morals. If you're not a Christian, you're going to hell anyway, so what's the problem?

It's not just a question of whether a church has a right to limit the availability of contraception, it's a question of if, under Christian teaching, it is even allowed. Why prevent the proportion of the population who aren't Christian from accessing contraception? They're going to burn in hell anyway, right, so the mortal sin of whacking a franger on their whanger really doesn't make much difference in the greater scheme of things. And reports like this indicate the Catholic churchs is, for some sick reason, actively spreading lies about condoms and AIDS.

I remember there was a debate a while back about providing condom machines in highschools. The out-of-touch moralists were outraged - they believed providing teenagers with access to contraceptives would induce rampant promiscuity. Anyone with more than a couple of working braincells left can see the problem - teenagers are going to shag themselves senseless anyway. If you provide them with an embarrasment free way of obtaining condoms, they might just shag safely, and everyone wins. The same goes for needle disposal units in public conveniences; junkies are going to shoot up anyway, there's not much can be done about that, but doing something to make sure used needles aren't left in playgrounds benefits everyone.

It's a sad day when faith blinds people to reality.
posted by Jimbob at 11:10 PM on October 9, 2003


Snyder - It's not like I make this stuff up. The church should be working to dispel the myths that are already rampant in the area -- not spread new ones.
posted by willnot at 11:56 PM on October 9, 2003


Anyone with more than a couple of working braincells left can see the problem - teenagers are going to shag themselves senseless anyway.

The lucky ones, anyway.
posted by jonmc at 9:35 AM on October 10, 2003


Sexual abstinence is far from foolproof. You can still receive tainted blood, even if the odds are thankfully against it. And you can still be caught in a violent situation where an infected person's blood gets onto your eyes or other mucous membrane

Well, ROU_Xenophobe, I'll concede that my use of the term "foolproof" was overstated. That said, this discussion is about methods of prophylaxis. and patients don't really have control over modes of infection such as the ones you mention (or rape or prenatal transmission etc). Obviously, using a condom is better than not using one but I don't think anyone would be able to make a credible argument that we would have the horrible epidemic that is raging if the only way the disease was spreading was through such things as tainted blood.
There is one primary vector, eliminate it and the situation would become a lot less dire.

PS willnot, your words quite clearly reflect their writer.
posted by Octaviuz at 10:44 AM on October 10, 2003


PPS stonerose, I don't think anyone could rationally disagree with policy like that; certainly not me.
posted by Octaviuz at 10:50 AM on October 10, 2003


Octaviuz, well, except for the Catholic church which as I recall was the whole point of this thread.
posted by filchyboy at 11:43 AM on October 10, 2003


teenagers are going to shag themselves senseless anyway.

The lucky ones, anyway.


...and the geek shall inherit the earth.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:07 PM on October 10, 2003


blissbat:I really don't think the availability of condoms will have any effect on HIV transmission through IV use, and I'm especially sure about it in regards to rape.

Duh. Hence, that's not what I said. I suggested that falsehoods about condoms will increase the risk of HIV transmission to married women and prostitutes. I said zilch about the availability of condoms. I also separately pointed out that IV drugs use and rape are transmission methods, which means that there's nothing "foolproof" about abstinence.

Please parse the statement before responding, especially if you're trying to be condescending.
posted by blissbat at 5:40 PM on October 10, 2003


Ok, I think I see your point. It seemed to me that you were making a non-sequiter, (and still kinda does, actually,) responding to a discussion on the merits of abstinence, as well as the Vatican's lies about condoms, by impugning the reliability of abstinence. I may have unfairly lumped you into a similar argument as ROU_Xenophobe, and you were just arguing separate points. If so, I apologize. If not, Octaviuz says it much better, and apologize anyway.

In any event, I wasn't being condescending, I was being superior. :)
posted by Snyder at 6:17 PM on October 11, 2003


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