In the News 2010

DOH Secretary Gets Support on Condom Distribution


Amid strong rejection from Philippine clergies, non-government organization Catholics for Choice offered their group’s support and encouraged Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Esperanza Cabral on her condom distribution efforts.

Catholics for Choice President Jon O’ Brien remarked that “Cabral’s efforts will undoubtedly save lives as we confront the HIV and AIDS epidemic.”

O’ Brien added that Cabral’s stance on the effectiveness of condom and her willingness to debate the bishops is not only making news internationally, but is also highlighting the Catholic hierarchy’s inappropriate interference in public policy.

He described Cabral’s willingness to remind people on the importance of condoms to protect their health and to save lives as a gesture of genuine concern.

O’ Brien said it recognizes people’s ability to choose for themselves when it comes to issues affecting their health.

It is also a position supported by Catholic social justice teaching and Catholics around the world.

During the observance of the 2001 World AIDS Day, Catholics for Choice launched a campaign in the United States, Mexico, South Africa, Kenya, Chile, Zimbabwe and the Philippines dubbed as `Condoms4Life’.

The said advertising campaign was the first phase of an effort to change the Vatican’s policy and challenge its aggressive lobbying against availability and access to condoms in the most-at-risk areas of the world. It is also aimed at raising public awareness on the devastating effect of the bishops’ ban on condoms.

In 2007, Catholics for Choice conducted a survey in the Philippines which showed that 77 percent of Catholics believe in the life-saving effects of condoms and believe using condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS is pro-life.

A UNAIDS report drafted in 2003 concluded that condoms have an estimated 90 percent rate of protection. The 10 percent failure rate does not mean that one in 10 condoms is defective.

Condom failure can be attributed to human error such as when a condom slips off, breaks or is not used early enough.

According to the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, condoms sometimes fail due to failure to use it consistently or correctly.

Also, the World Health Organization disclosed that laboratory studies have established the impermeability of the male latex condom to infectious agents contained in genital secretions, including the smallest viruses.

“As the world has changed, people have also changed. The attitudes on sex have also become more mature, responsible and compassionate,” Cabral explained.

Cabral stressed the DOH’s stand to use condom was meant to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases because anyone is vulnerable to infection.

This article originally appeared in the Philippines News Agency.

Catholics for Choice