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The Conference of Catholic Bishops in Kenya (KCCB) has officially encouraged the use of condoms as a means of preventing the spread of the human papillomavirus (HPV).
A July 2019 letter from the KCCB's Catholic Health Commission of Kenya (CHCK) was primarily written as a formal endorsement of the controversial Gardasil vaccine, but on page 5 of the 7-page letter is a list of "Other Modes of Prevention that have been adopted."
Third on the list is a statement regarding condom use: "Use of latex condoms every time during pregnancy every time during sexual intercourse. But keep in mind that HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact — not through exchange of bodily fluids. This means that while condoms may not always prevent the spread of HPV, they could reduce your risk."
The letter is signed by Bp. Joseph Mbatia, chairman of the KCCB's Catholic Health Commission of Kenya; Bp. Joseph Obanyi, vice-chairman of the CHCK, Drs. Bernhards Ogutu and Daniel Ochiel, both KCCB representatives to the Ministry of Health; and Jacinta Kathamu Mutegi, the executive secretary of CHCK.
The entire KCCB letter can be read by clicking here.
The condom endorsement in this letter is a radical departure from the KCCB's staunch opposition last year to the use of condoms for any reason.
In October of 2018, at a health conference on Mombasa, the bishops of Kenya strongly condemned the use of condoms. Speaking on behalf of the KCCB, Bp. Obanyi, whose name appears on the KCCB letter, said, "The use of condoms is immoral and is not one of the ways we would embrace in our campaigns."
The church has its doctrines of what it teaches and it is the greatest advocator fighting against AIDs but the use of condoms is not part of the agenda of the church. The church is at the front line to see how we can reduce the spread of the disease. … Condom [use] is not part of moral teaching and therefore, the church can never advocate for things that are not moral.
Given that the letter was sent by the Catholic Health Commission of Kenya on behalf of the bishops, it is entirely possible that the bishops never even reviewed the letter before it was sent.
Mutegi is directly connected with several organizations that are heavily committed to the distribution of condoms. Mutegi's profile on LinkedIn shows that she is a member of the Board of Directors for the National AIDS Control Council (NACC) and a member of the Global Fund's Kenya Coordinating Mechanism.