Pharyngula

Evil Catholic propaganda

What a charming representative for Christianity! A Catholic archbishop is claiming that condoms and retroviral drugs have been intentionally spiked with HIV. That’s getting down and dirty with best evangelical strategy: lie, smear, and promote evil ignorance.

Archbishop Chimoio told our reporter that abstention, not condoms, was the best way to fight HIV/Aids.

“Condoms are not sure because I know that there are two countries in Europe, they are making condoms with the virus on purpose,” he alleged, refusing to name the countries.

“They want to finish with the African people. This is the programme. They want to colonise until up to now. If we are not careful we will finish in one century’s time.”

Please, Archbishop Chimoio, tell me of these amazing human societies where abstinence actually works.

I wonder if those mysterious unnamed countries are also where Ruloff’s mysterious unnamed researchers live.

He said he knew researchers, whom he would not name, who had studied cellular mechanisms and made findings “riddled with metaphysical implications” and suggestive of an intelligent designer. But they are afraid to report them, he said.

Liars for Jesus all begin to sound alike after a while, don’t they?

Oh, well. Ruloff is only trying to keep people stupid. Chimoio is trying to kill them.

Comments

  1. #1 Bob L
    September 27, 2007

    He said he knew researchers, whom he would not name, who had studied cellular mechanisms and made findings “riddled with metaphysical implications” and suggestive of an intelligent designer. But they are afraid to report them, he said.

    You got to love it when Christian are afraid to report the truth because because they might get ridiculed. Yes, they believe their God died to give them the truth, but exposing themselves to ridicule, that’s too much to ask.

  2. #2 Sailor
    September 27, 2007

    Poor Mozambique!
    That is like the stories that used to go around in England when condoms first came out that holes were punched in one in ten to make them unsafe.

  3. #3 Greco
    September 27, 2007

    Oh boy, Aetiology’s AIDS trolls will turn this into the longest and most hysterical thread ever.

  4. #4 Gregg
    September 27, 2007

    Is prayer a good prophylactic?

  5. #5 Sven DiMilo
    September 27, 2007

    I don’t know about prayer, but all god’s chillun got rhythm.

    But seriously folks…this is sick, sick sick. And sickening.

  6. #6 Bob O'H
    September 27, 2007

    ERV made an interesting point, in her usual restrained manner:

    This was spoken by a native African who rolled over like a dog and accepted his masters god. Who were your ancestors gods ‘Archbishop’? Do you even know their names? The ‘colonizers’ have already taken your soul, what do you care about land??

    Ouch.

  7. #7 Pete
    September 27, 2007

    Look on the bright side: he acknowledges HIV causes AIDS. Just kidding, there is no bright side.

    Anyway, I am now going to click on the link in the BBC article to the chorus of writers raising their voices in condemnation and disavowal of this foolish man and his religion.
    Wait…

  8. #8 bullfighter
    September 27, 2007

    there are two countries in Europe, they are making condoms with the virus on purpose
    OK, one is Vatican City (wow, where do they fit a rubber factory… oh, of course, it’s a miracle); which is the other?

  9. #9 Janine
    September 27, 2007

    #6ERV made an interesting point, in her usual restrained manner:

    This was spoken by a native African who rolled over like a dog and accepted his masters god. Who were your ancestors gods ‘Archbishop’? Do you even know their names? The ‘colonizers’ have already taken your soul, what do you care about land??

    Going off on a tangent here but isn’t funny that there are Episcopals in the US who are splitting off from the main church to become part of the Ugandan church over the issue of homosexuality?
    Ouch.

    Posted by: Bob O’H | September 27, 2007 1:44 PM

  10. #10 mark
    September 27, 2007

    I wonder if the Archbishop sold himself a few indulgences before vomiting forth such lies.

  11. #11 CalGeorge
    September 27, 2007

    Playing the fear card, exploiting people’s ignorance.

    Really shameful.

  12. #12 Hank
    September 27, 2007

    How callous do you have to be in order to try to mislead people into death just to satisfy your own sexual morals? Scumbag.

    On Ruloff:
    The scores of scientiests so humble as to willingly turn down what must be more or less guaranteed nobel prizes never cease to amaze me.

  13. #13 raven
    September 27, 2007

    Oh Cthuhu!!! I’m speechless and this is a written forum.

    Spiking condoms with HIV wouldn’t even work. This is a fragile virus that won’t survive long outside the human body. IIRC, HIV lasts for 4 hours or some such outside the body, max..

    I don’t know how Africans can claim the white Euros are out to kill them. They are doing a great job all by themselves what with Mbeki and the S. African AIDS denialists, their HIV epidemics in one place or another, and their wars and out of control TB and malaria.

    I doubt that the Vatican will say anything to contradict his nonsense. But I’m sure a lot of the leadership is privately cringing and holding their heads in their hands.

    To anyone reasonable and educated, his statements are just bizarre and reprehensible.

  14. #14 Michael
    September 27, 2007

    This man follows the teachings and is in contact with a perfectly moral, omnipotent god?

    Hmm, I dunno about you guys, but somethings fishy here…

  15. #15 dcwp
    September 27, 2007

    Seriously. If this guy believes there is evidence that someone is intentionally passing HIV, it is his duty as a Christian and a human to provide details and work like mad to get a real investigation started. If he refuses to share his “information” then he should be excommunicated for allowing an atrocity to continue. Not that I believe him for a second, but for sake of argument, if he’s right then he’s also an accessory to a crime through obstruction.

    Just sayin’

  16. #16 Micah
    September 27, 2007

    That’s… pretty disgusting, actually. Same kind of thinking that goes into the campaign against the HPV vaccine in the US – “it is better for people to die horribly than to have sex”. Actively harmful, rather than just delusional.

  17. #17 Hank
    September 27, 2007

    raven: You are aware of the fact that you are speaking about an entire continent? Cut back on the generalizations please.

  18. #18 Alex
    September 27, 2007

    If he’s going to talk about colonization, maybe he should start thinking about how his own religion got to Mozambique.

  19. #19 raven
    September 27, 2007

    I have to say a little more because the Archbishop’s comments are the type that get people killed.

    HIV can be beat back. We will probably never eliminate it but it can be made rare enough to not seriously impact a society’s morbidity and mortality.

    It takes education in basic biology and safe sex. Condoms help but are no panacea. Antiretroviral treatment helps a lot. People who have their viral loads knocked down a few logs are a lot less infectious to their contacts. Needle exchange programs work wonders. Clean up the blood supply.

    The USA did it. It used to be that Thailand and Uganda were making progress but I don’t know the latest from those two countries.

  20. #20 Joshua
    September 27, 2007

    Remember, kids, “moderate” religiosity like Catholicism is completely harmless, even helpful, and never ever hurts anybody anywhere.

  21. #21 NoAstronomer
    September 27, 2007

    Yet another christian who seems to be 8th commandment (catholic version) challenged. He probably has Walt Ruloff as a friend on his MySpace page.

  22. #22 MAJeff
    September 27, 2007

    The Catholic Church, helping AIDS since 1981.

  23. #23 MikeM
    September 27, 2007

    What I don’t get is why the Archbishop felt the need to lie about this, of all subjects. What the Hell?

    Anyway, there’s an easy way around the problem: Buy Japanese condoms. Done. Or maybe the Good Archbishop knows something about them, too.

    “Don’t use those condoms, young fella. It’d be a pity if sumtin bad was to happen to you.”

    Not just a lie, but a really stupid lie. I tell you, some journalist will call the guy on this, and he’ll have to relent. What was the point of telling this really dumb lie? It’s only going to lead to tears.

    As I’ve read before, The stupid, it burns.

  24. #24 Sastra
    September 27, 2007

    …tell me of these amazing human societies where abstinence actually works.

    Why, it works in every human society. If you get pregnant, you didn’t use it, did you?

    It’s a wonderful way to skewer the statistics on the success of sex education programs. If one class teaches how to use birth control and then 40% have sex, 20% don’t use it, and 5% get pregnant, that 5% pregnancy rate counts against the birth-control class.

    If another class teaches abstinence only, no birth control information given, and 40% have sex, and 15% get pregnant, then that 15% pregnancy rate does not count against the success of the abstinence-only program — because those kids weren’t abstinent.

  25. #25 wildcardjack
    September 27, 2007

    The good Bishop must have been doing some reading.

    “For if the truth of God hath more abounded by my lie unto his glory, why yet am I also adjudged a sinner?” Romans 3.7

  26. #26 Brownian
    September 27, 2007

    I heard this kind of stuff all the time when I was living in Uganda. Fortunately, for every letter to the editor decrying homosexuality as an evil ‘Western’ custom, or the polio vaccine as a method of spreading HIV, there would be a rational letter in response.

    Generally, the level of discourse I witnessed there was elevated beyond anything the religiots here have ever attained.

    That being said, churches in Africa are among some of the most potent forces for economic and social regression.

    Way to go, Jesus! Fuck them Africans over!

  27. #27 Phil
    September 27, 2007

    What a piece of work this nutter is. Isn’t lying one of the deadly sins his religion condemns?

  28. #28 Charles Soto
    September 27, 2007

    Micah, I’m against mandatory HPV vaccination (I’m in Texas), but not because I think “sex is icky” (quite fond of it, and generally think mankind benefits from it, to a degree). I’m against it because 1) Rick Perry is a tool of the pharmaceutical company that tried to push it (that’s no way to do public health policy) and 2) HPV doesn’t rise to the level of MMR, DTP, etc. in terms of risk/benefit. Most women resolve their HPV infections with no permanent side effects. And HPV is (as is HIV) quite easy to avoid. Informed consent is one thing. Mandatory inoculation, on the other hand, is something a free society should limit to situations wherein public health is adversely threatened. HPV ain’t it. Oh, and I have a son, not a daughter, so nyah! (just kidding)

  29. #29 Umilik
    September 27, 2007

    With delusional fuckups like Chimoio and Mbeki, and the endless litany of ruthless tinpot dictators like Mugabe and Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Africa doesn’t need neocolonialists to “finish Africa”.

  30. #30 MartB
    September 27, 2007

    Yes, we are cringing and beating our palms against our heads. The archbishop is way off base. On the other hand one has to wonder that, if the cynical PZ can get snickered by his own opponents, the gormless arch could also have been (best scene interpretation). Even the very clever Christof von Schönbourne is not above having the wool pulled over his eyes by the ID crowd and their ilk.

    And yes, the man is responsible for the deaths resulting from his stupidity. This is one of the times I think atheists wish there were a hell!

    Yes, abstinence is the best way to prevent HIV, it is also the cheapest. On the other hand it is not the most realistic, while HIV is so very, very real.

    (Full disclosure – South African in South Africa – with his hands in his hair about Tshabalal-Mtsimang etc., etc. etc. etc.) Yikes!

  31. #31 Caledonian
    September 27, 2007

    Why would we want to colonize Africa? It’s where we evolved – which means that it’s chock full of diseases and parasites that can affect us.

    The Africans can keep it.

  32. #32 Warren
    September 27, 2007

    Evil Catholic Propaganda?

    You’re being triply redundant.

  33. #33 firemancarl
    September 27, 2007

    Chimoio. This is/was the location of a terrorist training camp during the Rhodesian Bush War. Chimoio was run my Joshua Nkomo who, after being told that he wasn’t doing enough to kill Rhodesians had his terrorist group ZIPRA shot down a Rhodesian airliner the “Hunyani” VPWAS after leaving Kariba.

    Leading to the well known “Green Leader” raid.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p1NRLFso6Q actual bombing run audio.

    After being known as a terror training area, why should I be suprised by this? Most of southern Africa is convinced that AIDS is not a problem.

  34. #34 blf
    September 27, 2007

    raven (#13) wrote:

    I doubt that the Vatican will say anything to contradict his nonsense. But I’m sure a lot of the leadership is privately cringing and holding their heads in their hands.

    I’m not so sure there is much, if any, cringing, or holding anything other than young boy’s–let’s not go there….

    A few years back some nitwit in the crutch said condoms are ineffective against HIV because the virus was so small it’d swim through the holes in a condom. I vaguely recall he was a bishop in Africa? (And I don’t think he was ever asked why condoms can hold water or air, whose molecules are much much much smaller than any virus.) Anyways, a (high-ranking?) nitwit at the Vatican agreed, both that condoms are useless against HIV/AIDS, and with the “reasoning”.

    (Apologies for the lack of references, but the source where I recall reading the story–The Guardian–seems to be down at the moment, and I’ve got dinner–homemade cream of wild mushroom and onion soup with wine and cheese, since you ask–about ready, and…)

  35. #35 shiftlessbum
    September 27, 2007

    delurking

    Charles Soto wrote
    Informed consent is one thing. Mandatory inoculation, on the other hand, is something a free society should limit to situations wherein public health is adversely threatened. HPV ain’t it.

    You make a good point; unlike other pathogens that are serious public health issues for broad swaths of the population, HPV is a bit less virulent and the route of infection makes it less of a broad threat. So mandatory innoculation seems a bit overreaching. The problem is that the best time to innoculate people is when they are minors. Thus the state does have a legitmate interest. One of the reasons why many vaccines are required for attendance in public schools is precisely because there is always a cadre of parents who do not act in their children’s best interests and since they are minors, it is (in a legal sense) assumed that children cannot make informed consent. Thus the state ought to have some say in these kinds of issues. I will admit that mandatory HPV vaccination is in a gray area, but irrespective of Perry being beholden to big pharma, there is a legitimacy to the effort.

    re-lurking

  36. #36 Bill C.
    September 27, 2007

    They are also trying to prosyletize to our prisoners. What a waste.

    http://www.draggedfromthebottom.blogspot.com/

  37. #37 Louis
    September 27, 2007

    What’s worse is that they are spiking condoms with Teh Gay as well so not only will you end up being Teh Gay and having Teh AIDZ but you will be forced to have sex with Africans as part of the white hegemony destined to colonise the world piece by AIDZ/Gay ridden piece. Of course proper heterosekshul white christian people, like for example senators with a wide stance, won’t get Teh Gay or Teh AIDZ and thus the blacks, gays and shaggers of the world will die. Hallelujahgobble.

    Thens we starts on the womens. We have a REEEEEAAAAL good model for them: Kinder Kirche Kuche.

    Louis

    P.S. It’s actually really hard tocomeout with a parody. These loons are unparodiably extreme to start with.

  38. #38 Bad
    September 27, 2007

    Economists have actually shown that particular patterns of abstinence can INCREASE the rates of STD transmission.

    I’m not expert in viruses, but I was under the impression that the AIDS virus cannot live outside a host for very long at all: can it even remain potent after spending months lying around on a condom?

  39. #39 Caledonian
    September 27, 2007

    The problem is that the best time to innoculate people is when they are minors. Thus the state does have a legitmate interest.

    Wrong.

  40. #40 G
    September 27, 2007

    The problem is that the best time to innoculate people is when they are minors. Thus the state does have a legitmate interest.

    Wrong.

    Okay, I’ll bite, why?

  41. #41 MartinC
    September 27, 2007

    Charles Soto said….
    “HPV doesn’t rise to the level of MMR, DTP, etc. in terms of risk/benefit.”
    Is there a proven medical risk with the current anti-HPV vaccine ? It would want to be fairly obvious to outweigh the benefit of preventing a large number of cervical carcinomas.

  42. #42 raven
    September 27, 2007

    can it [HIV] even remain potent after spending months lying around on a condom?

    No. HIV is very fragile. IIRC, it can last 4 hours max outside the body.

    That is why the modes of transmission require exchange of bodily fluids.

    Clearly the Archbishop isn’t going to let facts get in his way while Just Making Things Up.

  43. #43 lawyer/scientist
    September 27, 2007

    PZ – they’re ANTI-retrovirals, not retrovirals…that would kind of defeat the purpose, no? Just saying…

    Charles Soto – HPV is easy to avoid, is it? Interesting that the CDC statistics for 2003-2004 show that 50% of sexually active women between the ages of 20-24 were infected (the highest prevalence group), and 97% of sexually active women will have been infected by the time they turn 50. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5633a5.htm?s_cid=mm5633a5_e
    HPV is also one of the few STDs that can be transmitted even if condoms are used. Yes, most infections are easily resolved – the asymptomatic nature of most infections is what allows HPV to be passed on so easily. And remember, the ones that don’t get resolved can cause cancer – deadly, difficult to treat, cancer. I am still not sure where I stand on the ethics of how this vaccine has been promoted by the pharmaceutical industry, or whether it should be mandatory, but don’t downplay the severity of the risks, please. Reducing the overall prevalence of this virus in the public is a worthy goal.

    Myths about Africans being purposely infected with HIV by Europeans or Amercians have cropped up pretty frequently over the course of the epidemic (the CIA caused AIDS, polio vaccines caused AIDS, etc.), as have stories about the ineffectiveness of condoms. I agree that the only way to counter these stories is with education, which means overcoming some pretty substantial stigma and discrimination attached to AIDS in most of Africa. Helen Epstein’s book “The Invisible Cure” is a great read and offers some good insights into why there is still so much stigma around AIDS in Africa, where such a huge percentage of the population is infected with HIV (no, I don’t have any vested interest in this book!). The association of HIV infection and condom use with immoral behaviour is one of them, and of course religious groups (some more than others, to be fair) bear a big chunk of the blame for this. Having an Archbishop actively spewing lies about AIDS is pretty much par for the course, so far as I am concerned.

  44. #44 charles Soto
    September 27, 2007

    MartinC, I chose poor words. by “risk/benefit” I should have said “cost/benefit” (or “not-necessarily-health-risks-risks/benefit”). There are definitely costs (as in $120/dose), but more fundamentally, I’m concerned about the mandatory nature of this. Public policy isn’t something to be ventured lightly. I agree that it’s more effective to vaccinate children than adults. Thus, I’d support a big publicity campaign. But it doesn’t rise to the level of public health threat. I’d rather see mandatory flu vaccination. That kills millions more…

  45. #45 Charles Soto
    September 27, 2007

    Oh and yes, the HPV vaccines approved for use in the US are quite safe and effective:

    http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/STDFact-HPV-vaccine-hcp.htm

    And this bishop guy is a tool. just setting the record straight…

  46. #46 Elwood Herring
    September 27, 2007

    Up to now my attitude to religious leaders has been mostly “Live and let live”, but this crosses a dangerous line. To insinuate that well-meaning people are deliberately infecting condoms is evil scaremongering of the worst order. I am incensed at this; obviously the religious fraternity will stop at nothing to peddle their disgusting lies. The more stories like this I hear the more militant is my stance. I would never criticise any individual who peacefully follows whatever misguided belief they need to bring comfort to their lives, but all the big organised religions of the world need to be torn down and scattered to the winds before we can ever hope to have peace in this world.

    “Civilisation will not attain perfection until the last stone of the last church falls on the last priest.” – Emile Zola

  47. #47 John C. Randolph
    September 27, 2007

    So, the man has crossed the line from stupid, superstitious git, to dangerous death-cult leader.

    -jcr

  48. #48 Charles Soto
    September 27, 2007

    lawyer/scientist, HPV is quite easy to avoid. That a significant number don’t doesn’t negate this – that’s more of teh stoopid in effect.

    http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm#reducerisk

    The same is true of HIV, for that matter. It’s easy to avoid. Public policy protecting blood supplies, handing of medical instruments, etc. work wonders. Not to mention the effectiveness of condoms. Or are you saying that condoms don’t work? Are you an evil catholic?

    Yes, eliminating HPV would be great. But I’d prefer to fight other battles first…

  49. #49 blf
    September 27, 2007

    Earlier (#34), I said, without citing any sources:

    A few years back some nitwit in the crutch said condoms are ineffective against HIV because the virus was so small it’d swim through the holes in a condom. I vaguely recall he was a bishop in Africa? … Anyways, a (high-ranking?) nitwit at the Vatican agreed, both that condoms are useless against HIV/AIDS, and with the “reasoning”.

    After a quick search, here’s a followup story from the BBC in 2004, Condoms at carnival, reporting:

    Rio’s famous [Grande Rio 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 [a BBC program] “Sex and the Holy City” programme last year [2003].

    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.

    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 more promiscuous.

    Cardinal Trujillo claims that condoms have a “ten to fifteen per cent inefficacy” – or failure rate – because tiny “AIDS viruses are much more able to pass through” condoms than the sperm.

    In Brazil, up to 100,000 leaflets were printed backing up the Cardinal’s argument.

    [The pamphlet] argued the AIDS virus can pass through condoms “as easily as a cat through a garage door.”

    The Brazillian Government – in the form of the National HIV/AIDS Programme – is challenging Cardinal Trujillo’s message.

    It wrote a letter raising the question that the Church’s message could be a “Crime Against Humanity” because it would lead millions not to use condoms and to contract the HIV virus.

    But across town, Bishop Cifuentes has a different view.

    “Why do they say accuse us of a crime against humanity?” he asks.

    “I would say that using a condom to stop AIDS is like trying to put out fire with petrol. Because it encourages the fire. So I believe something more profound is needed.”

    Based on this previous set of lies from the Vatican itself, I am extremely doubtful anyone there sees anything wrong or immoral with the new absurd claim. Instead of cringing at the statement(s?), I presume the Vatican is cheering the bishop on. And might even issue(? fabricate? conflate?) some more “research” to “prove” the “plot”?

  50. #50 stogoe
    September 27, 2007

    Yes, eliminating HPV would be great. But I’d prefer to fight other battles first…

    Well, we have a vaccine for it now. We can win now…why not use it?

  51. #51 frog
    September 27, 2007

    Chimoio isn’t trying to kill the folks (genocide), he’s trying to reduce them to an infantile class. When AIDS rates spike, if we see continued high levels of reproduction, the population will/has become a vast collection of juvenile orphans.

    What society would be better to enslave? Ahh, Christian morality! The worst of Roman society, without the bennies.

  52. #52 raven
    September 27, 2007

    As terrible as the archbishops comment was, it could be worse. In the USA, Catholics listen to the priests and smile and nod, then just ignore them when they feel like it. Same in Europe, especially Italy.

    Unlike the archbishop, I can reference my assertion. The family size of Catholics in the USA is almost identical to the national average. You aren’t going to tell me they use the rhythm and get pregnant method? BS!

    Why shouldn’t they ignore the priests. What do celibate men know about marriage and raising families. And who pays for the kids needs anyway?

    I don’t know what the situation is like in S. America and relevantly, Africa. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Africans take the priests a little more seriously. But not that seriously or else they wouldn’t have horrendous AIDS epidemics.

  53. #53 Reginald Selkirk
    September 27, 2007

    Not to worry, I’m sure the archbishop’s boss, the Pope, will slap him down and immediately set the record straight.

  54. #54 frog
    September 27, 2007

    Raven: It wouldn’t surprise me if the Africans take the priests a little more seriously. But not that seriously or else they wouldn’t have horrendous AIDS epidemics.

    Not true. They might be taking the priests very seriously, but transmission levels of sexually transmitted diseases are not primarily a function of levels of sex, but of the structure of sex links.

    For example, American Jews have, on average, many more sexual partners than American Blacks, but AIDS (and other STD’s) are much higher among Blacks than Jews (don’t know about the intersection of the two groups). A major difference is in the structure of sexual contacts. Among the large number of Jews, the median number of partners and the average number of partners is close – in other words, everyone has a few partners. Among Blacks, you see a different pattern with a few people having many partners, and a large number of people having very few.

    The latter makes the number of links between any individual and an infected individual much shorter than in a fairly homogeneous network, where every node in the network is similar to every other node.

    In Africa, the infection rate among married women with very few partners (mostly monogamous) is very high for that same reason. They sleep with their husbands. Their husbands sleep with a neighbors wife, and that neighbor is a trucker who picked up HIV from a prostitute. If everyone in the village were ignoring the priests and sleeping with a couple of local folks, but no one in the village was sleeping with prostitutes on road trips, there were no local “sluts” or “players”, the HIV infection rate would be lower than in the mainly monogamous village life with access to prostitutes, sluts or players.

  55. #55 Uber
    September 27, 2007

    moderate” religiosity like Catholicism is completely harmless, even helpful, and never ever hurts anybody anywhere

    I have always held and still do that the RCC is far far worse than moderate Protestantism. It simply has no humbleness.

    Likewise Africa is a very important battleground for the RCC as better than half their members are from there and South America. The church is all but dead in Europe and not taken seriously in America. They need money and members from somewhere.

  56. #56 SteveM
    September 27, 2007

    Charles Soto “I’d rather see mandatory flu vaccination. That kills millions more…”

    Is there a problem getting people to take the flu vaccine? Seems to me the demand perenially exceeds the supply.

  57. #57 Interrobang
    September 27, 2007

    Yes, eliminating HPV would be great. But I’d prefer to fight other battles first…

    Hm, yes, Charles. Spoken like someone at zero risk of contracting cervical cancer… (Penile cancer, which you also get from HPV, isn’t as common.) Three pap smears in six months makes me wish they’d had the vaccine 20 years ago, and I always use condoms. Condoms aren’t all that effective against HPV, and most people don’t know they have it.

    FWIW, in my jurisdiction, mandatory HPV vaccination (for both boys and girls, I think) makes a lot of sense, and is a compelling state interest, since the state winds up paying for people’s cervical/penile cancer treatment later on, hereabouts.

  58. #58 Bill McElree
    September 27, 2007

    This is why we cannot stay silent when a religinut speaks. It may save lives!

  59. #59 kellbelle1020
    September 27, 2007

    “HPV is quite easy to avoid. That a significant number don’t doesn’t negate this. … The same is true of HIV, for that matter. It’s easy to avoid. Public policy protecting blood supplies, handing of medical instruments, etc. work wonders. Not to mention the effectiveness of condoms. Or are you saying that condoms don’t work?”

    Hmm. Except for that, unlike HIV, there is no reliable test to tell if males have HPV, so unless it’s of the genital wart variety, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to know if your partner has it (the virus can persist undiagnosed for years – married couples with no infidelity can still have cases of HPV). And, HPV is spread through skin contact, whereas HIV is spread through bodily fluids. Therefore condoms – while they do REDUCE risk – are not as effective in preventing HPV, because condoms don’t cover all of the skin of the genital area. So, unless you believe in the abstinence-only crowd (or just think that 97% of women are dumb and/or sluts), it actually isn’t particularly easy to avoid, even if you use condoms every time, are in a monogamous relationship, and/or have had very few partners.

    Again, this says nothing about vaccine policy, but at least get the facts right. (Or, alternatively, don’t state your opinion as if it is fact)

    http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/common-questions.htm

  60. #60 Hank
    September 27, 2007

    …tell me of these amazing human societies where abstinence actually works.

    Found one!

    It’s a joke people.

  61. #61 blf
    September 27, 2007

    On the question of how seriously the locals might take this particular dimwit, The Guardian‘s report says:

    The archbishop [of Maputo (Francisco Chimoio)] is widely respected in Mozambique, in part because of the leading role he played in brokering a peace deal to end a 16-year civil war in 1992.

    So it seems this guy has done something useful in the past (good for him!) and earned some respect. To what extent the esteem in which he’s apparently held will add weight to his inanity remains unknown.

  62. #62 Alison
    September 27, 2007

    OK, I guess I’m attracted to burning stupid like a moth to a flame. I had to visit the forum, but I didn’t need to see much after reading this gem by “John”:

    Now here is where it gets interesting. The only change possible under Darwinian theory, is by DNA mutations caused primarily by background radiation in the atmosphere. And yes, it is true that radiations causes mutations by knocking off parts of the DNA structure. It is also true that most of these mutations are either negative, or neutral. Very few are beneficial, and those that are positive are caused by destroying part of the delicate DNA structure.

    Apparently, John learned all his science from comic books. All he needed to know he learned from Dr. Bruce Banner!

  63. #63 Alison
    September 27, 2007

    I guess some of that radiation mutated me while I wasn’t looking. Wrong thread!

  64. #64 Brownian
    September 27, 2007

    Hank, if Linux exists then how come there are WINDOWS + MAC OS X?

  65. #65 Zeno
    September 27, 2007

    raven: I doubt that the Vatican will say anything to contradict his nonsense. But I’m sure a lot of the leadership is privately cringing and holding their heads in their hands.

    That, of course, is part of the problem. For an authoritarian hierarchy complete with a peerless autocrat, the Roman Catholic Church is remarkably timid about confronting nonsense and mischief in its own ranks. The Vatican has on occasion roused itself to drop the hammer on the likes of Charles Curran (denying him the authority to teach as a theologian in a Catholic-sponsored university) or Hans Küng (who dared question papal infallibility), but it dithered forever in the case of Bernard Law, the cardinal who covered up dozens of cases of child abuse in the Boston diocese. Sometimes the ability to look the other way is a miraculous phenomenon.

  66. #66 J Green
    September 27, 2007

    lol, where do you think the evangelicals learnt such behaviour from!

  67. #67 Firemancarl
    September 27, 2007

    Just a thought. I wonder what ERV has to say about this. I suspect the bishop is gonna get it both barrels from her!

  68. #68 Ken Mareld
    September 27, 2007

    The ignorance of this archbishop is astounding. But then I am too often astounded by how many people of influence can be so ignorant. As usual when ignorant people of influence make such idiotic pronouncements, people die. The HIV infection rate of Mozambique is about the same as the rate of persons who follow Catholic faith. What would be interesting is look at non-Catholic vs. Catholic infection rates today, and what those rates are five years from now. It would either sadly show how many actually follow this fool, or if a real anti-AIDS campaign went forward how many don’t.

  69. #69 kellbelle1020
    September 27, 2007

    “the Roman Catholic Church is remarkably timid about confronting nonsense and mischief in its own ranks”

    Because the leaders realize that if they confront nonsense and mischief in others within the ranks, their nonsense and mischief is likely to be confronted too! And then no one could promote nonsense and mischief! We can’t have that!

    That’s the beauty of an authoritarian hierarchy complete with a peerless autocrat – the elite class is immune to the standards the populace is held to.

  70. #70 windy
    September 27, 2007

    I don’t know how Africans can claim the white Euros are out to kill them.

    While the claim is silly, there are actual European policies that do indirectly kill Africans, like arms trade to embargoed countries and rigged trade rules… and which Europeans does this “moral leader” choose to point his finger at? People handing out free condoms. Way to go, asshole.

  71. #71 Matt
    September 27, 2007

    “HPV is quite easy to avoid. That a significant number don’t doesn’t negate this. … The same is true of HIV, for that matter. It’s easy to avoid. Public policy protecting blood supplies, handing of medical instruments, etc. work wonders. Not to mention the effectiveness of condoms. Or are you saying that condoms don’t work?”

    This is based on the idea that all humans are rational actors whose actions will be based on rational self-interest. And sex doesn’t work that way.

    Yes, you can avoid HPV by being abstinent and/or reducing sex partner count, but people do neither in real life.

    They never have.

    Today, we actually talk about it instead of pretending it doesn’t happen. But that doesn’t mean that non-abstinent, multi-partner sexuality is a new thing….

    I’d rather vaccinate than not. Granted that the law of unintended consequences may crop up, vaccination for HPV can significantly reduce health risks, and that risk reduction represents enough of a benefit to merit widespread adoption.

  72. #72 Willo the Wisp
    September 27, 2007

    It’s the same old shit; it’s just coming out of a different asshole this time.

    And if scientists had evidence of the existence of a god, they would PUBLISH IT. Scientists publish everything. They tell everyone. They don’t keep Nobel-prize worthy findings secret.

  73. #73 Mooser
    September 27, 2007

    For example, American Jews have, on average, many more sexual partners than American Blacks,

    I am being so thoroughly ripped off! I didn’t mind not getting my share of the “all Jews are rich” money, and I don’t miss missing out on the cabal’s control of political events, but this is too much! I want my foreskin back!

  74. #74 Justin Moretti
    September 27, 2007

    Bullshit like this is why I left the Church.

    Every time these jerks tell a lie, I imagine priests in Hell screaming as gibbering demons dance around them. There are not the human concepts to explain why they are screaming.

    It’s really fun being an apostate and not yet being an atheist – it means I can comfort myself with the fact that there is still a Hell for these people.

  75. #75 Mrs Tilton
    September 27, 2007

    Joshua @20,

    “moderate” religiosity like Catholicism is completely harmless

    Wherever did you get the notion that catholicism is moderate? It is a batshit-insane whackjob cult, as bad as Scientology if not worse. The difference is that RCism is a seriously old B-IWJ cult, so much so that a great many of its adherents don’t take it very seriously any more, asking for nothing more than a few aesthetically pleasing rituals and some comforting stories. That most catholics are moderate and harmless does not imply that catholicism is the same.

    Elwood @46:

    “Civilisation will not attain perfection until the last stone of the last church falls on the last priest.” – Emile Zola

    Zola was wrong. Many church buildings are supremely beautiful architectural achievements, and I would hope we shall preserve for centuries (or even millennia, if possible). I agree with the broad terms of what Zola was trying to say, but an earlier countryman of his, Jean Meslier, said it so much better:

    “I would wish that the last king be strangled with the guts of the last priest.”

    Meslier’s words take on a special poignancy when one considers that he was himself a priest.

    Brownian @64:

    Sheer brilliance. The rest of us should pretty much just give up and go home at this point.

  76. #76 lunartalks
    September 27, 2007

    So its wrong to put your cock in a condom, but ok to put it in an altar boy.

    Say three Hail Marys and don’t do it again.

  77. #77 Uber
    September 27, 2007

    it means I can comfort myself with the fact that there is still a Hell for these people.

    I hopethis was tongue in cheek as if it wasn’t your moral compass may be as off as the RCC.

  78. #78 yoyo
    September 27, 2007

    After working in AIDs prevention since 1983, when I was loosing co-workers and friends monthly, (the infection rate doubled every six months at first). I believe the HIV deniers, whether religious or not, should be prosecuted for hate crimes and for homicide by neglect. I know it’s a free speech issue but so is shouting “fire” in a crowded mall when you know that will cause injury or death. Why can”t the good bishop just go join his sky fairy and stop taking other people with him!!!

  79. #79 frog
    September 27, 2007

    Mooser,

    On average I said. If you’re uglier than average, that’s not the cabal’s fault, is it? You can’t blame the Rothschilds for keeping their pretty young daughters away from you in that case — they do have to select for breeding!

    Just google some sociology papers on STD’s. They also found that Jewish girls are really more likely to be into oral sex than Black girls (goes for both genders) – or at least say so to pollsters. You’re probably also losing out on that one too.

    It’s mostly age of first marriage. Jews tend to marry near 30, and marriage has a tendency to damper the number of partners. Modern Christianity, especially evangelical, also is more sex negative than non-orthodox Judaism, which (surprisingly) does tend to dampen number of partners also, while at the same time increasing the risk of STDs and unwanted pregnancy. The first boyfriend may be a couple of years later, but he’ll probably get the girl pregnant, marry her, give her an STD and then leave her with three kids eight years later.

    Maybe you just lack gratitude to the cabal? You could be that guy… and not everything responds to antibiotics.

  80. #80 frog
    September 27, 2007

    And I meant Christianity’s sex negativity has a tendency to dampen number of partners while increasing the odds of STDs and pregnancy.

    Just check out the literature on abstinence-only sex education. It kinda works… depending on what the goal is. It’s a really winner for Chlamydia, for example.

    God must just love genital warts, almost as much as beetles.

  81. #81 Elwood Herring
    September 27, 2007

    Mrs. Tilton @75

    If you take the comment at face value then I agree with you. I would never condone destroying beautiful historic buildings – but we all know that Zola wasn’t actually suggesting such a thing. The point of the quote as I read it, is that the whole institution of organised religion must be utterly annihilated in the minds of every man, woman and child (especially the child in my opinion) before we can ever have any hope of advancing to a higher level of civilisation.

  82. #82 Charles Soto
    September 27, 2007

    A few things (still as yet unrelated to the actual topic, except tangentially):

    kellbelle1020 – Read what the CDC says about reducing risks of HPV, please. I didn’t make that up (but I’ll make up a lot of other stuff, just for you).

    stogoe – Good point. We, as individuals, should use it. I would, and I would for my daughter (too bad, I have a son, nyah nyah). It’s safe and effective. I just don’t want public policy used in this case.

    Matt – I like where this is going! We’re savage sexual creatures and can’t help it! This argument works very well with my wife. Seriously, I’ve told her that I’m a human male, and therefore can’t help the fact that hot chicks excite me. She understands. She just wants me to not otherwise exchange fluids with them. It’s honestly not that hard, even if you’re not monogamous (those latex things work, and the polyurethane ones aren’t actually terrible). Anyway, Matt’s argument bears some further examination.

    Recognize that arguments of “it’s for the public good” need to be taken very seriously. All arguments should be rationally weighed. Is this really a big enough problem to be mandating public health practices? If this were the case, drinking alcohol would be banned. I could *possibly* live with that. But if they outlawed caffeine, I’d be whoring myself out on the curb in about a week for some java…

  83. #83 khan
    September 27, 2007

    This is based on the idea that all humans are rational actors whose actions will be based on rational self-interest. And sex doesn’t work that way.

    Yes, you can avoid HPV by being abstinent and/or reducing sex partner count, but people do neither in real life.

    They never have.

    And never will.

    And just a reminder for the proponents of purity: not all sex is voluntary.

  84. #84 Greco
    September 27, 2007

    The row raged all over the world, nowhere more so than largely Catholic Brazil, which has Latin America’s highest AIDS rate.

    No, that would be Belize.

    I suppose the reporter couldn’t tell the difference between absolute numbers (600,000) and rates (0.5). Why am I not surprised?

  85. #85 Stogoe
    September 27, 2007

    I just don’t want public policy used in this case.

    Well why the fuck not? You’re not some woo-woo anti-vaxer, or some “pot-smoking fascist” libertard, are you?

    It’s not about “Big Pharma”. It’s about stopping cervical cancer. Jackass.

  86. #86 Mike
    September 27, 2007

    It’s too bad that the Catholic Archbishop Chimoio wasn’t intentionally spiked with HIV!

  87. #87 Ichthyic
    September 27, 2007

    And just a reminder for the proponents of purity: not all sex is voluntary.

    “So what will it be a jack and coke for you and the usual roofie colada for your date?”

    -bartender to Glen (Family Guy)

  88. #88 lawyer/scientist
    September 28, 2007

    Charles Soto, no I am not an evil catholic. I do not deny that condoms are an excellent way to prevent most STDs, as well as unwanted pregnancies. Condoms do not work to prevent all HPV infections. A fact which is referred to in the CDC fact sheet to which you referred.

    Your latest comment is the second time in this thread that you have (jokingly, I am sure) bragged about the fact that you have a son, and not a daughter, and therefore do not have to worry about the consequences of HPV infection (i.e., cervical cancer) for your child. Perhaps, then, you should refrain from commenting about this issue? Since it can have no potential impact on you and yours?
    You also seem to be suggesting that women get HPV infections because they are stupid. So – are you an evil misogynist?

  89. #89 Thoracantha
    September 28, 2007

    Has the bishop gotten a good look at the Colonial Powers lately? America is bogged down in Iraq. England couldn’t even keep Canada. Spain and Portugal haven’t had a new colony since the days of sailing ships. And France well, if your country can be taken over by the French……

    Wait. It must be the Swedes. Or maybe them Hungarians…….

  90. #90 TK
    September 28, 2007

    Charles Soto, I guess having a son makes you feel more manly eh.
    What about the girl who gets cervical cancer, passed on by your lad when he grows up ?As for the roman catholics, anyone educated by the christian brothers knows what sadistic demented fuckwits they are (lower case intentional )
    TK

  91. #91 Antonio
    September 28, 2007

    Months ago it was published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine (commented and linked here: http://ciencia-y-religion.blogspot.com/2007/02/no-es-evolucin-pero-nos-afecta.html)
    that, in my oppinion, is even more dangerous. All of us know what people can do because of religion, but health professionals…

  92. #92 uriel
    September 28, 2007

    It’s a joke people.

    Of course. But like they say-

    It’s funny… ’cause its true!

  93. #93 zayzayem
    September 28, 2007

    I love the logic here.

    *They are trying to kill us to take our land, so let’s just stop breeding. That will show them.*

  94. #94 uriel
    September 28, 2007

    Yes, eliminating HPV would be great. But I’d prefer to fight other battles first…

    Just to clarify- how exactly does this issue become a naturally binary decision?

    This answer really reeks of a false dilemma. So what exactly are the issues that must necessarily fall to the wayside if we take the slight effort to address an issue that has a solution that is 1) demonstrably trivial at this juncture, and 2) pretty clearly separate from any other issue?

    Or are you really trying to argue that the simple pin-prick and nominal fee required to provide life-long protection from HPV for our a)daughters and/or b) sons who will someday have girlfriends and wives (I guess, since you seem to think its not an issue, you’re planning for your son to celibate or gay)- somehow this little thing so onerous and constraining that other, far more intractable issues are going to be ignored?

    If so, what exactly is it that you’re claiming will be thrust to the side by adopting a fairly insignificant public health measure? Do you also object to MMR for the same reasons? How about smallpox and polio- did the eradication of those diseases somehow detract from more pressing concerns? Or was that a magical time where the world took a break to allow us to step in to take care of those far more serious diseases?

    Or is HPV somehow special and different from those diseases? Is the measure of a disease’s seriousness nothing more than value-laden comparison of its transmission vectors, as opposed to its possible effects?

    Really, I’m curious. Because to my mind, removing the causes of slow death by cancer, through the mechanisms of nothing more than a vaccination- regardless of the issues of prevalence or responsibility- seems like a pretty simple issue.

    Frankly,this seems a pretty nonsensical position to be arguing from.

  95. #95 Guru
    September 28, 2007

    Unfortunately, evolution is working in favor of those most susceptible to religion: They usually have loads of children.
    Also, condemning the use of contraceptives is a great way for the church to increase the number of their followers. If condemning does not work, spreading fear of condoms is just as good.

  96. #96 uriel
    September 28, 2007

    But, let’s give Charles and Caledonian the the benefit of the doubt here. According to the CDC:

    Widespread vaccination has the potential to reduce cervical cancer deaths around the world by as much as two-thirds, if all women were to take the vaccine and if protection turns out to be long-term. In addition, the vaccines can reduce the need for medical care, biopsies, and invasive procedures associated with the follow-up from abnormal Pap tests, thus helping to reduce health care costs and anxieties related to abnormal Pap tests and follow-up procedures.

    Obviously, such pie-in-the-sky results are clearly meaningless and insignificant. And certainly not worth the effort.

    Right guys?

  97. #97 Brandon P.
    September 28, 2007

    Can we now bring the Vatican to some kind of court for condoning and promoting this dangerous nonsense?

  98. #98 Russell Blackford
    September 28, 2007

    Just one thing, when people say that moderate religionists are not our enemies, blah, blah, blah, I think they’re right. I say such things, too. But Catholic Cardinals, by and large, are not moderates. They accept the reality of deep time and biological evolution (though with a bit of human exceptionalism thrown in), but they’re not thereby moderates. Their moral views are among the most virulent and vicious of any of those espoused by religionists.

  99. #99 Rune C. Olwen
    September 28, 2007

    “Liars for Jesus all begin to sound alike after a while, don’t they?

    Oh, well. Ruloff is only trying to keep people stupid. Chimoio is trying to kill them.”

    Both not, I´m afraid. This viri-in-condome-thing was new, at least for me. Unfortunately the insinuation “European countries do it on purpose” is not enough to sue and take the vatican´s money away from it, the governments are all afraid (perhaps we can make them afraid of us even more? Politicians deserve no mercy!)
    And without any birth control the birth rate is so extreme that it has outweighed the (also high) death rate in all of christian-suppressed Europe the last 2000 years.
    Even the plague could change that only for one generation.

    And, khan, may I borrow your endsentence?
    And just a reminder for the proponents of purity: not all sex is voluntary.

  100. #100 Valhar2000
    September 28, 2007

    Another piece of evil catholic propaganda, ever since the 1st of July the Spanish government will be giving between 2500? and 3500? (about 3500$ and 3960$) to parents of babies born after that date, in order to help families and all that good stuff.

    However, the Conferencia Episcopal, which is sort of the national Bishop association, have said that they oppose giving this to single mothers, because it violates the sanctity of the natural family.

    Fortunatelt, Spain is no the US, so the decision makers will just laugh at this, but it is nonetheless horrifying.

  101. #101 ERV
    September 28, 2007

    Those of you who dont want the HPV vax to be mandated by the government:
    Try getting the vaccination in a Red State.

    It took me 45 days of harassing a major hospital to get mine.

  102. #102 Bookworm
    September 28, 2007

    Every time I hear something like this coming from the Catholic Church, I write a check out to Planned Parenthood.

  103. #103 Caledonian
    September 28, 2007

    Obviously, such pie-in-the-sky results are clearly meaningless and insignificant. And certainly not worth the effort.

    Utterly missing the point.

    Where in the world did you get the idea that I’m suggesting these vaccines are meaningless, insignificant, and useless? Or are you intentionally crafting a strawman for the purposes of rhetoric?

  104. #104 Elf M. Sternberg
    September 28, 2007

    Hey, PZ! You’ve been quoted on shrillblog! Now that’s an achievement! It’s a little too bad Brad has mostly dropped the “howling at the cold, uncaring stars” bit from his monologues, but there’s just too much shrillness to keep up with.

  105. #105 kellbelle1020
    September 28, 2007

    “kellbelle1020 – Read what the CDC says about reducing risks of HPV, please.”

    I did. Apparently you didn’t. Relevant excerpts from CDC page below.

    “I just don’t want public policy used in this case.”

    Interesting, since you promoted the public policy efforts to reduce HIV as a good thing. In any case, get the damn facts right before you start arguing about the politics of it.

    “She just wants me to not otherwise exchange fluids with them. It’s honestly not that hard, even if you’re not monogamous (those latex things work, and the polyurethane ones aren’t actually terrible).”

    As I said before, HPV isn’t transmitted through fluids, so that’s irrelevant. From the CDC page: “Condoms may lower your chances of passing HPV to your new partner, if used all the time and the right way. But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom–so condoms may not fully protect against HPV. The only sure way to prevent passing HPV to a partner is not to have sex*.”[emphasis mine]
    And: “Most sexually active people get HPV at some time in their lives… People with only one lifetime sex partner can get HPV… Having HPV does not mean that you or your partner is having sex outside of your relationship. There is no sure way to know when you got HPV. A person can have HPV for many years before it is found.”

    http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/common-questions.htm

    Since condoms don’t fully protect against it, and it’s impossible to know who has it at any given time, and most people contract in their lives, how can you still claim it’s easy to avoid? Even abstinence until marriage doesn’t necessarily work. Life-time celibacy is the only sure way*

    *And that may not even do the trick: “Transmission of HPV through routes other than sexual is definitely possible. One may be exposed to HPV simply by shaking hands as suggested in the finding of HPV virus under fingernails.” and “Am J Epidemiol 2003 Feb 1;157(3):218-26: ‘Always using male condoms with a new partner was not protective.'” from here: http://www.alotek.org/alotek/topics1/article51/

    The moral of this story: The Archbishop Chimoio is an extreme example of a large trend of lies and misinformation spread about people’s health in the service of personal politics. One solution is greater education to counteract these lies. (Or, you know, simple reading comprehension abilities while perusing the CDC webpage.)

  106. #106 Caledonian
    September 28, 2007

    More work on promotion of the vaccine, and less on trying to make it mandatory, will not only be correct but practical – you’ll get far greater results that way.

    If you try to arrange circumstances so that the only choices are mandatory adoption and crippling promotion of the vaccines, lots of people will choose to cripple promotion – even if they view the vaccine as a good and desirable thing.

  107. #107 kellbelle1020
    September 28, 2007

    PS I’ll tell you in advance that the second link in the above post is a summary of actual scientific studies appearing in reputable journals. Unfortunately, this decent summary of various HPV transmission routes is based on a site that sells homeopathic remedies to warts, etc. (HPV is a perfect target, as it often goes away on it’s own anyway) I only appeal to the validity of the journal excerpts on that page, and not anything else appearing on that site. I encourage you to look up the references elsewhere, but they’re all conveniently in one place there.

  108. #108 j.t.delaney
    September 28, 2007

    More work on promotion of the vaccine, and less on trying to make it mandatory, will not only be correct but practical – you’ll get far greater results that way.

    Oh yeah, that’s totally what they did with smallpox and polio (almost)! Yessir, nothing erradicates infectious diseases like laissez-faire public heath policy: just let the Invisible Hand take a swat at those germs, and they won’t know what hit ’em.

  109. #109 Keith Douglas
    September 28, 2007

    MikeM: But is he lying, rather than massively clueless? I can’t for the life of me decide which is worse, mind you.

  110. #110 Caledonian
    September 28, 2007

    Oh yeah, that’s totally what they did with smallpox and polio (almost)! Yessir, nothing erradicates infectious diseases like laissez-faire public heath policy: just let the Invisible Hand take a swat at those germs, and they won’t know what hit ’em.

    Smallpox and polio are spontaneously and easily transmissable, have a very high death rate, and serious permanent effects on the survivors.

    HPV? Isn’t, and doesn’t.

    The comment about the Invisible Hand is just a swipe at what you think (or want to insinuate) are my views on economics, and have nothing to do with the topic.

  111. #111 Robin Levett
    September 29, 2007

    Caledonian:

    Smallpox and polio are spontaneously and easily transmissable, have a very high death rate, and serious permanent effects on the survivors.

    HPV? Isn’t, and doesn’t.

    Smallpox’s morbidity and mortality rates in the unvaccinated were each of the order of 30%:

    http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic885.htm

    The main permanent effects on survivors were skin scars – occasionally there was blindness and (in males) infertility.

    As to transmissibility: “Smallpox is transmitted primarily through prolonged social contact or direct contact with infected body fluids or contaminated objects (fomites) such as bedding or clothes” – so not that easily transmissible.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallpox

    HPV? Prevalence among US women is 26.8% – (that’s not morbidity, but prevalence – I can’t easily find figures for morbidity – but it can’t be particularly difficult to catch it!).

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/297/8/813

    HPV on its own isn’t much of a problem; but it is the cause of 70% of cervical cancer
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TD4-4MVF6HB-1&_user=10&_coverDate=04%2F20%2F2007&
    _rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&
    _userid=10&md5=4c0273c1e464fc251be7d4fcfb545a57

    On UK figures, there are 8 new cases of invasive cervical cancer per 100,000 per annum (the US figures are comparable), and roughly 10 times that number of non-invasive cases; there were 2.6 deaths from cervical cancer. So mortality of the major (albeit least common) side effect of HPV is over 30% in the UK – higher than smallpox. US figures, again, are comparable, but global figures are closer to 50% mortality.

    UK figures:
    http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/cervix/incidence/
    http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/cervix/mortality/
    US figures:
    http://www.idsociety.org/Content.aspx?id=6532

    Accepted that the incidence of cancer as a result of HPV is a lot less than the morbidity, but you can hardly suggest that it is less serious than skin scars and the occasional case of blindness and infertility.

  112. #112 paul fauvet
    September 29, 2007

    Much ado about nothing, I’m afraid. Archbishop Chimoio denies that he ever made the outrageous claims put into his mouth by a Reuters article (which seems to be the source for the BBC story).

    I am a journalist working in Mozambique, and I was amazed when I read the Reuters/BBC pieces, since Chimoio had never said anything of the sort to the local media. On Friday, one of the local TV stations, STV, interviewed him, and he flatly denied making the assertions. He said he knew nothing about any countries contaminating condoms with HIV.

    Of course, he also repeated the standard catholic line about abstinence before marriage as the best way to prevent AIDS. But, interestingly enough, he refused to condemn condom use: when asked about condoms by the TV interviewer, he said he would “neither condemn nor endorse” them – which is rather better than Vatican claims that condoms are full of little holes that let the virus through.

    Perhaps the Archbishop is backpedalling furiously and lied to STV – but I suspect that the real scandal here is one of shoddy journalism on the part of local Reuters and BBC stringers, who may have preferred sensationalism to accuracy.

  113. #113 SEF
    September 29, 2007

    Archbishop Chimoio denies …

    Link?

  114. #114 j.t.delaney
    September 29, 2007

    The comment about the Invisible Hand is just a swipe at what you think (or want to insinuate) are my views on economics, and have nothing to do with the topic.

    Oh, but such a swipe is on-topic when Libertarian ideas seem to be creeping into your ideas about public health in strange ways. You live in a country where almost half the women of child-bearing age are infected, and yet you don’t see this as a problem that warrants anything more than voluntary vaccinations, and are worried that it would be government overstepping its bounds to do anything about it.There are roughly 500,000 cases of cervical cancer each year globally, and almost every instance of it could be avoided if HPV were eliminated.

  115. #115 paul fauvet
    September 30, 2007

    SEF asks for a link to Chimoio’s denial that he ever claimed condoms sent to Mozambique were deliberately contaminated with HIV. I don’t have a link, I’m afraid – the website of the TV station he spoke to, STV, is down, undergoing maintenance. And even if it wasn’t, I’m not sure that a link would be much use to you, since Chimoio spoke in the country’s official language, which is Portuguese.

    So you’ll just have to take my word for it that the Archbishop was indeed interviewed, and flatly denied ever speaking the words attributed to him by the BBC and Reuters.

  116. #116 Owlmirror
    September 30, 2007

    I clicked over to BBC Portuguese Africa, and noticed this

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/portugueseafrica/news/story/2007/09/070928_mozbishopaidsbp.shtml

    Does the phrase that Babelfish translates as “gives the not said said one for” (“dá o dito por não dito”) more properly translate to “has said that he did not say” or “denies making claim”, or something like that? Or did I misunderstand what is being negated in there?

  117. #117 paul fauvet
    September 30, 2007

    Owlmirror – “dar o dito por nao dito” has become a dreadful Portuguese cliche. It means he denies saying it – but with the implication that yes, he really did say it, and the denial is merely formal. Whenever, in any lusophone country, a politician or other public figure denies a media report about him or her, you can bet that the journalist involved will accuse him of “dar o dito por nao dito”.

    The question of Archbishop Chimoio’s statements should, in principle, be easy to clear up. The BBC stringer, Jose Tembe, has presumably got a recording of his interview. But he does not seem to have made that recording available to anyone else – which certainly arouses my suspicions.

  118. #118 SEF
    October 1, 2007

    The BBC stringer, Jose Tembe, has presumably got a recording of his interview. But he does not seem to have made that recording available to anyone else – which certainly arouses my suspicions.

    But one of those suspicions would have to be that no-one has actually asked for it in the right place and way rather than merely on a blog.

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