Continued from page 1

If these four behaviors are avoided until and unless one is positive that one’s partner is uninfected and old enough (and sober enough) to consent to sexual activity, the risk for HIV/AIDS transmission should be low. Adding a condom becomes yet another wise choice.

But the pope and the Catholic Church are correct when they say condom distribution cannot overcome or resolve the problem of AIDS.

Condoms are not the first line of defense in fighting this disease. They are the last line of defense - a “hail Mary pass,” if you will - in which a man or a woman literally throws up a barrier in the last seconds ofsex, in hopes that no virus will find its way into their bloodstreams.

So condoms have a role to play in fighting AIDS, but the best results will come when those four dangerous behaviors are reduced or eliminated.

• E-mail Cheryl Wetzstein