On World AIDS Day, the LDS Church made its most progressive statement to date regarding the global pandemic. In a news conference, Elder Robert C. Oaks of the Presidency of the Seventy, said that people with AIDS should be treated with dignity, kindness and increased compassion. Yet, in the same conference, Elder Oaks made some inaccurate statements about the AIDS crisis in Africa, flatly stating that "so-called safe-sex programs" and free condom distribution don't work.

Of course fidelity and monogamy help prevent the spread of HIV. However, scores of women are forced into intercourse by their HIV-positive husbands. Indeed, the statement is of little comfort to any person who grew up believing in monogamy, but, unknown to them, their spouse or partner was not faithful.

If the LDS Church were to condone, rather than condemn, safer sex, it would be helping fight ignorance and fear.

Hugo Salinas

associate director

Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons