Thursday, November 02, 2006

Listening to religion may be hazardous tor your health

Leave it to religions like Catholicism to screw up the world. Here's part of the results from a study of over a million men and women from 59 countries.

[T]he countries where people have the most multiple sexual partners – the developed world – are those with the lowest incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies. These countries also have by far the greatest condom usage, [Kay Wellings at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine] explains. This suggests that social factors such as poverty, mobility and gender equality may be more relevant to sexual ill-health than promiscuity, she adds.


Religion is a real problem in reproductive health, says Joy Phumaphi, Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization. People are still having more children than they can afford to support and the lack of provision of contraceptives and safe medical abortion facilities is harming thousands of women, she said, citing Nicaragua’s proposed ban on all abortions, in particular, as a “huge threat to women’s health”.

But it is a mistake to lay all the blame on Catholicism and other major religions,” Phumaphi says: “The biggest problem is the many independent churches that have huge influence, and some very extremist views.

She points out the success of Brazil, a Catholic country, where risk factors such as multiple partners and low age of first sex, are coupled with low HIV infection rates. This is mainly due to "joined-up thinking" between various health agencies so that, for example, condom use is encouraged.

No comments: