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08 March 2005

CBN.com - What's the best way to prevent AIDS? ‘Safe sex’ or Abstinence?

In the Philippines, Abstinence programs seem to be working: the mostly Catholic nation has one of the lowest H-I-V infection rates in Asia.

Yet attendees at a recent United Nations-sponsored AIDS conference in Manila are not impressed. They're recommending that the Philippine government promote so-called ‘safe sex’.

But would it help? The facts are: from the first reported AIDS case in 1984 to the present, there have only been a total of 2,200 HIV/AIDS cases.

There are varied opinions on how to best prevent the dreaded disease from spreading, but as far as the Philippines is concerned, the low statistics prove that Abstinence is the still the most effective way to fight HIV/AIDS.

Bishop Efraim Tendero is the National Director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches. He said Evangelicals support condom use, not for AIDS prevention, but only for married couples to use in family planning.

Bishop Tendero explained, "We are not encouraging promiscuity of sexual relationships. It’s important that the church upholds safe sex only in a monogamous relationship."

The Church in the Philippines promotes morality. But Lennarth Hjelmaker, Ambassador of Sweden, was a keynote speaker at a recently concluded AIDS Forum in manila. He believes condom use is the way to combat what he called a looming pandemic in the Philippines.

Hjelmaker said, "We want people to stay alive and to make it possible we have to use the condom. The Church has its strong views about abstinence, and about waiting with sex until you’re married and all these things. But if you look into the realities, if you look where you find AIDS today, you can even find AIDS in the church".

Joshua Formentera says has been living with HIV/AIDS for 15 years. "I am in a relationship for 5 years now. We’ve been using the condom and my partner is negative. More than morality, I believe in the human right."

Bishop Deo Iniguez, of the Catholic Bishops Conference, said, "Human rights, we have to consider, are for the good of the other person too. The right ceases to exist once there is risk or danger to another.”

He explained further, “A husband and wife, if one is contaminated, I think they will not use a condom, not endanger the other. Real love is, in a marriage when one partner is infected with HIV virus, they will abstain from the sexual act.” [Since it is well-known medical scientific fact that condoms do not really protect from sexually transmitted diseases.]"

By Jay Estaban - CWNews

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