Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/3/2009 (2928 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
That's the case, even though, on the Dark Continent, more than 25 million people have died from the disease in recent decades and some 22.5 million Africans are living with HIV.
"(AIDS) cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms," the pontiff said. "On the contrary, they increase the problem."
How condoms could possibly increase the problem isn't clear. What is clear is that if Africans and other people heed the Pope's anti-condom message, many more people will die from AIDS and even more children will become orphans.
To date, more than 11 million African children have been orphaned by AIDS.
In three African countries -- Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland -- more than 20 per cent of adults are infected with HIV.
The Pope's message is not only inaccurate, arguably, it's reckless and likely to endanger the lives of countless people.
Of course, some people would suggest condoms are not needed by anyone.
The Catholic Church teaches that fidelity within heterosexual marriage and sexual abstinence are the best ways to stop AIDS.
That's only good in theory. In reality, life is not so simple.
When it comes to Africa and the developing world, opposition to the use of condoms not only contributes to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, it has also helped fuel a population explosion.
In part, it's to blame for families in Third World countries having so many children that they can't possibly feed them all.
So when such children are going hungry, what sense does it make to discourage their parents from using birth control? The average life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa is now 47 years, when it could have been 62 without AIDS, according to experts.
Economic progress in African countries most affected by AIDS and HIV is said to have come to a virtual stop.
It's ironic that while many health professionals and educators are encouraging people to use condoms, the pontiff is preaching the opposite.
It's as though nobody's told him about the international AIDS crisis.
Fortunately, in some African countries, people are getting the message that condoms save lives.
Studies carried out between 2001 and 2005 found that eight out of 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa reported an increase in condom use.
Here in North America, we need to promote the use of condoms, and the same must be done in Africa.
It's unfortunate that only a few brave Catholics ever publicly question the Pope's views on birth control.
It's also unfortunate that as the number of practising Catholics declines in the developed world, the Pope is taking his anti-condom message to the Third World.
That message is a real killer.
--The Canadian Press