With his first visit to Africa, Pope Benedict is both right and wrong about the serious AIDS crisis which is decimating the populations of many African nations. Once again, the Pope is adhering to the unBiblical line of his church by even opposing birth control such as condoms for married persons, by claiming that condoms are not the answer to the AIDS crisis. Yet the Pope is probably right in viewing that the widespread problems of male sexual dominance in Africa are a major cause of this serious epidemic. Cultural traditions in many African nations allow men to dominate sexual relationships, leaving most women with little ability to determine even this role for themselves, allowing women to easily become AIDS victims.
Many men in Africa are married to perfectly good women, however many married men choose to have sex outside of marriage and then bring the HIV infection home to their wives, who then often pass off the HIV infection to children they bear, and as HIV grows into full blown AIDS as most persons in African nations cannot afford medicines to treat and contain the HIV infection, then AIDS is wiping out the populations of Africa, killing off entire families.
The cultural problem of so many men in Africa having unprotected sex outside of marriage is allowing for the huge growth of HIV infections and the AIDS epidemic to destroy the entire continent. This is the biggest crisis the African continent has ever faced, despite centuries of warfare and dictatorships in most nations.
At least 22 million or more persons on the African continent are probably HIV positive. In nations such as South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the HIV infection rate might range as high 15-20% of the population. However, in some states such as Swaziland the HIV infection rate tops 26% of the population, followed by Botswana and Lesotho with HIV rates in the 23% range.
As the HIV and AIDS epidemic destroys many African nations, many families are left without wage earners and many children are left as orphans due to this serious crisis that is just as serious as the Plague that once ruined Europe when many in Europe held superstitious views that cats were the companions of witches and cats were largely killed or banned, allowing the rat population to grow and spread fatal disease to the population. In Africa, bad cultural views giving men too much control of sexual relations is helping to spread the HIV infection throughout the population.
Condoms are an important first start in Africa. However, the culture needs to change in many African nations as well, where men begin to take more responsibility for their actions and women are given a far greater say in the ability to determine whether to enter into a sexual relationship or not.
The Pope may want to bring his European style religion to Africa, however this is not Europe, and not everyone in Africa wants to accept European culture or religion as their own culture or faith. The Pope may view much of the sexual conduct of men in Africa as being either Adultery or fornication, according to his own European standards, however the culture of most in Africa probably do not share such views. However, some important cultural changes, as well as the use of condoms and education are important steps in controlling this serious problem for African society. The United States and other nations also need to greatly help as well. This is a serious crisis that demands a worldwide effort to contain and control.
HIV and AIDS continues to be a less serious problem in the United States for many reasons by comparison, including a much higher use of condoms, better sexual education, women having a far greater ability to determine whether to enter into sexual relationships, many men substituting harmless sexual fantasy such as as sexy culture, movies or even pornography in place of actual sexual acting out which may not be culturally appropriate in some cases, as well as Judeo-Christian religious or cultural norms that frown on activity that might be considered to be fornication or adultery. Further, among the Gay male community, greater caution is now used. At one time, Gay men considered their sexual activity to be fairly safe and without the risk of pregnancy, allowing for more partners or other risks. But AIDS has created a higher incidence of monogamy even in this community as well. However, the culture of Africa is far different. And for the culture to change there is much more difficult, complicating the AIDS problem.
Not everyone thinks like Americans or even Westerners do. There are often great cultural differences between the 192 nations of the world. Not everyone is like us. An ethnocentric view of the world doesn't solve all the world's problems.
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