Saturday, 1 December 2012

World AIDS Day

The position of the Catholic Church is fully borne out by the facts, and is unique in being so. Certain people might consider applying some journalistic or scientific objectivity to the question of where in Africa the condom use relentlessly promoted by Western nongovernmental organisations and compliant governments has ever arrested, never mind reversed, the rate of HIV infection. There is nowhere.

However, such a reversal is under way in Uganda, where the government's message is the same as the Catholic Church’s: “Change Your Behaviour”. Huge numbers of condoms have been distributed in Botswana, and the result has been for President Festus Mogae to declare, “Abstain or die”. Who, exactly, is incapable of fidelity within a monogamous marriage and abstinence outside such a marriage? Women? Black people? Poor people? Developing-world people? Or just poor black women in the developing world?

There are the closest ties between my native Saint Helena and Cape Town, the gateway to and from AIDS-ravaged South Africa. Sailors, young single people, all the stereotypes. Yet Saint Helena (where, by the way, there are almost no Catholics, but very strong traditional family structures and so on) is one of extremely few territories in the world never to have had a case of HIV infection. Not one. Ever. So yes, it can be done. It is being done.

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