Churches Hampered Efforts to Curb HIV Spread in Scotland in 1980s

© Sputnik/ Alexandr Kryazhev

© Sputnik/ Alexandr Kryazhev

Sputniknews – July 2016

Churches in the United Kingdom were a stumbling block in British efforts to stop the spread of AIDS in Scotland in the 1980s, classified documents released by the UK National Archives show.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – According to the papers, released on Thursday, the UK Department of Education wanted to include an explanation on how to use condoms in a sex education video for 13 to 16-year-old schoolchildren, however, the Catholic Church was opposed to the move.

The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland was opposed to another government initiative which aimed to limit the spread of HIV by supplying clean needles to drug misusers.

Problems were also encountered when women who had tested positive for HIV wanted to terminate pregnancy, as the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland was “sensitive” about the matter, the UK National Archives papers showed.

An HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection gradually leads to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), which significantly weakens a person’s immune system making the infected individual progressively susceptible to opportunistic infections.

HIV can be passed on through infected bodily fluids, such as blood or semen. Without treatment, average survival time for an HIV infected person is 9-11 years.

HIV was wide-spread in Scotland in the 1980s and Edinburgh was branded as the “Aids capital of Europe.”