Are condoms actually the mysterious force that created the AIDS virus?

Today, Pope Benedict XVI began a weeklong whirlwind tour of utter offensiveness that will span the entire African continent.

When the Pope arrived at his first stop in Yaounde, Cameroon, he told reporters, “You can’t resolve [the AIDS epidemic] with the distribution of condoms. . . . On the contrary, it increases the problem.” He was then “greeted by a crowd of flag-waving faithful and snapping cameras,” while the 22 million people infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa silently wondered who the fuck this dude thinks he is.

According to the New York Times, “The pope said a responsible and moral attitude toward sex would help fight the disease” and that “Senior Vatican officials have advocated fidelity in marriage and abstinence from premarital sex as key weapons in the fight against AIDS.” Meanwhile, AIDS activists speculated as to how they might harness the weapons of abstinence and fidelity—-apparently some pretty potent shit—-to defeat God’s human spokesperson.

Rebecca Hodes with the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa said if the pope was serious about preventing new HIV infections, he would focus on promoting wide access to condoms and spreading information on how best to use them.

”Instead, his opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans,” said Hodes, head of policy, communication and research for the organization.

Hodes said the pope was right that condoms are not the sole solution to Africa’s AIDS epidemic, but added they are one of the very few proven measures to prevent HIV infections.

Even some priests and nuns working with those living with HIV/AIDS question the church’s opposition to condoms amid the pandemic ravaging Africa. Ordinary Africans do as well.

I have to admit that it takes a lot of balls to wait until you are on a plane headed toward Africa to inform the entire continent that you hope the only thing that has been proven to effectively slow the spread of AIDS is purged from the land to make way for a ridiculous abstinence fantasy hatched by a 2,000-year-old all-powerful sky daemon. Yep, AIDS, poof, should be gone by the time I’ve spread my message around your dark continent in my magical glass God carriage, see you suckers later.

Photo byPaul Keller.