From: BBC News (June, 2004)
At the Rio carnival in February this year, the Samba music played while huge spiky HIV viruses danced next to oversized condoms.
At least that's what it looked like - as the members of the Grande Rio Samba School wore special costumes to promote the use of condoms against AIDS.
Rio's famous samba school had made condoms a theme of their carnival procession. But they were also furious at a claim by a Cardinal in the Vatican, who said that condoms are unsafe because they have holes in them that could allow the HIV virus to pass through.
Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, made the controversial claim on Panorama's "Sex and the Holy City" programme last year.
He was asked if it was the Vatican's position that the HIV virus can pass through a condom.
"Yes, yes, because this is something which the scientific community accepts, and doctors know what we are saying," he replied.
"You cannot talk about safe sex," he added, insisting that holes in condoms are a significant health risk..
But the comments sparked anger that the Church had undermined confidence in the device that millions trust for protection against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The row raged all over the world, nowhere more so than largely Catholic Brazil, which has Latin America's highest AIDS rate.
I would say that using a condom to stop AIDS is like trying to put out fire with petrol. Because it encourages the fire.
Bishop Cifuentes of Rio
After the Panorama programme, Cardinal Trujillo published a paper called Family Values versus Safe Sex. In it, he argued that there is scientific evidence that condoms couldn't be trusted - they let the HIV virus through and could lead to more AIDS deaths.
He argued condom promotion was not only ineffective against the AIDS epidemic - in fact it may cause more AIDS by encouraging people to be... [continues]
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