In 2011, there were 34 million people living with HIV and 2.5 million people became newly infected. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region most affected, accounting for 69% of all people living with HIV, including 3.1 million children. In 2011, 1.7 million people died from AIDS-related causes worldwide and 1.2 million of those people in Sub-Saharan Africa, almost 71% of all the AIDS-related deaths. [1]

Catholicism is the dominant religion in Sub-Saharan Africa [2]. The Catholic Church, due to its many missionaries and schools, has an extremely important influence on the education and the social customs of the area. Unfortunately, it also has a strong stance against the use of condoms even though condoms are known to be the most basic, preventative measure against HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS declares the male latex condom to be “the single, most efficient, available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.”[3]

Despite this and evidence that shows a decrease in the number of people infected with HIV in countries that promote condom use [3], and the evidence that shows that abstinence only sex education is ineffective and harmful [4], the catholic church still refuses to help educate about the indisputable fact that condoms reduce the spread of HIV and even teaches that the use of condoms is sinful. [5] This is extremely irresponsible of the Catholic Church and is unacceptable.

Condoms play a critical role in preventing the spread of HIV [6, 7]. Accurate education about and the distribution of condoms is absolutely necessary, especially in high risk areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa. If the Catholic Church begins to truthfully teach how important condom use is for the prevention of the spread of HIV many lives will be saved. In a world where millions of people die of AIDS-related causes and millions are newly infected every year this issue cannot be ignored.

Pope Francis has demonstrated so far that he wants to be a different kind of pope. He wants to show that caring about the people is more important to him than antiquated traditions. [8] He has a real opportunity to really show that this is true.

Please sign this petition and tell Pope Francis to publicly announce his support for use of condoms for the prevention of the spread of HIV.

1.http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/epidemiology/2012/gr2012/20121120_FactSheet_Global_en.pdf

2.http://www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/2010/04/21/mixing-of-religions-in-sub-saharan-africa/

3.http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/featurestories/2009/march/20090319preventionposition/

4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17885460

5. http://www.catholic.com/tracts/birth-control

6.http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/byAudience/ForPatientAdvocates/HIVandAIDSActivities/ucm126372.htm

7.http://journals.lww.com/stdjournal/Fulltext/2002/03000/Dual_Protection_Against_Unintended_Pregnancy_and.7.aspx

8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21813874

Letter to
Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller
Pope Francis
Publicly announce your support for condom use for AIDS prevention.