Clean needles for drug-using inmates is God’s will, according to the Catholic Church in Australia. In an effort to halt HIV and hepatitis C in the big house Down Under, the Aussie Diocesan AIDS Council recommended a dose of reality. “As the authorities are unable to stop injecting-drug use in our prisons, the only viable way to prevent sharing is to provide clean needles and syringes to prisoners,” wrote the council’s David Waterford in a recent SA Catholic magazine.

Jeremy Landau, chair of the prison subcommittee of the President Clinton’s Advisory response to AIDS,“ he said. ”If this is a sincere outreach, I only wish they would have more of a positive moral response to AIDS in the United States." Will America indeed follow suit? In a curt retort, Joseph Zwilling of the Catholic Archdioceses of New York told POZ: “I don’t know what the Bishops of Australia have done. I haven’t heard of it and I’m not going to comment.”

Citing rape, drug use, needle misuse, blood brotherhood and a lack of education as the primary sources of HIV spread in prison, the United Nations recently recommended that rubbers and lube be made available to convicts around the world.