- Title: NIGERIA: Nigerians at odds with Pope Benedict over condoms
- Date: 19th March 2009
- Summary: LAGOS, NIGERIA (MARCH 18, 2009) (REUTERS) TRAFFIC IN BUSY LAGOS STREET VARIOUS OF PEOPLE IN THE STREETS/ WOMAN CARRYING BUNDLE ON HER HEAD
- Embargoed: 3rd April 2009 13:00
- Location: Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA2X0JPCPOYJWL6CB2XIE10G0B3
- Story Text: Many Nigerians in Lagos said on Wednesday (March 18) they did not agree with Pope Benedict's comments on Tuesday (March 17) in which he urged Africans to refrain from using condoms, a contraceptive that has helped control the increase of AIDS cases in Africa.
The pope said the use of condoms could increase the problems by encouraging sexual activity and the best solution to tackling the disease was fidelity within heterosexual marriage, chastity and abstinence.
AIDS has killed more than 25 million people across the world since the early 1980s, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some 22.5 million Africans are living with HIV.
Lawyer Adeleke Agbola said the pope must take into account the African reality of multiple sexual partners that is often behind the spread of the disease.
"Yes, if you can force the people to remain in abstinence, if you are not going to have one lover then you should use condom. I think it is just elementary, just common sense. One, condom is just a preventative measure, it does not mean that once you use it you will not have AIDS, or you will not have kids, but it reduces it. And anything that will reduce AIDS in a depressed continent like Africa, it should be welcome. So, I think we should separate this issue from the issue of religion. The Pope, I think is dabbling in an area where he does not understand," he said.
But Chidi Ilogu, another lawyer, agreed with the pontiff.
"The implications are that HIV/ AIDS is a more serious issue than just advocating the use of condom. Condom as you well know is not fool proof, it does not have 100 percent security. As much as possible, there is need for chastity, there is need for relationships of this nature to be restrained or result in one partner and another, not just a lot of people doing what they want because they have condoms," he said.
The pope's words were some of his most explicit on the use of condoms to stop the spread of AIDS since his election in 2005.
Some Church leaders have been calling for allowing their use in rare cases between married heterosexual couples where one partner has the disease.
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