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Condoms are the single most effective technology to protect against sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS, a disease that killed up to 3.5 million people in 2003 alone and infected up to 5.8 million others.
HIV prevention campaigns that censor information about condoms can heighten this risk. This observation was echoed in September 2003 by Philippines Secretary of Health Manuel Dayrit, who noted that the presence of STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis among Filipinos signaled that HIV could spread throughout the population unless swift measures were taken to prevent it.
Condoms have long been a flashpoint for controversy in the Philippines, a country that is nearly 85 percent Catholic and is heavily influenced in its AIDS policy by the Vatican. and spreads promiscuity. A combination of widespread high-risk behaviors, low HIV/AIDS knowledge, and the presence of STDs that increase HIV vulnerability has led health experts to fear an HIV/AIDS explosion in the Philippines. Surveys of sexual behavior in the Philippines reveal significant risk behaviors among surveyed populations, as well as lower than expected knowledge of how to prevent HIV infection.
Too often, governments fail to promote condoms and impart necessary skills and knowledge for fear that doing so will promote sexual activity or birth control.
Incomplete information about HIV/AIDS can both elevate HIV risk and fuel negative stereotypes about people living with the disease.
In its opposition to condoms, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines closely adheres to the policy of the Vatican.