Condoms to prevent disease within marriage


#1

I understand that the Church teaches that married couples must not use any artificial methods to prevent the possibility of pregnancy. But what about the use of condoms to prevent the spread of disease within a marriage? In this case, the contraceptive effect of the condom is more of a byproduct than the objective. What if a married couple were to find out that one partner had contracted an STD prior to their marriage? Should the married couple simply become abstinant? It concerns me greatly that AIDS is spreading rapidly throughout Africa, and I wonder if the Church’s all out ban on the use of condoms, even if ONLY to prevent the spread of disease within a marriage, turns many who would otherwise embrace the church’s teachings away from the Catholic church.


#2

You make a great point. The rising rate of STDS throughout the world is truly frightening.


#3

Honestly? I wouldn’t trust a condom to not break at some point and give me the disease. If my husband had AIDS, I would NOT be having sex with him. It is too risky since condoms are notorious for breaking. If he had AIDS, he likely would not be trustworthy, would he? As it is, HIV takes up to ten years before becoming AIDS; there are many people in our own population who carry it and have no idea because there are no symptoms. So the disease would likely get passed before either partner realizes it.

Condoms don’t protect against some STDs such as HPV and herpes either.


#4

condoms are not that great at preventing disease. They break, they cause a false sense of security, the quality of a condom can vary w/in a package.

The loving thing to do in the case of STD’s and especially AIDS is to abstain so as not to infect other people.


#5

I think it would be highly irresponsible for the Church to advocate condoms as a means of preventing any STD. There is a lot of research out there that shows they really aren’t that effective at all even when used correctly, and really only provide a false sense of security.

In places like Africa the best way to combat the spread of STDS is to actually teach the people about them and how they truly spread, basically educate them rather than simply hand out condoms and tell them they are protected.


#6

Yeah, you don’t want your husband to have AIDS.

You may tolerate his having HIV, but if he has AIDS he’s as good as dead. In which case you won’t have to have sex with him anyway.

Also, condoms are 98% effective. They break if they’re too old (this is why you need to check the expiration date), and some people are just too dumb to know how to use a condom properly. Otherwise, they’re effective and should be used by anyone who has contracted STDs and wants to have a healthy marriage. I’m sorry, I’m all for abstinence and I like to think Catholics (of all people) have the willpower to abstain as necessary. But after reading some of the posts here on this forum, including one post where one man considers divorcing his wife because she doesn’t want to have sex with him, I just don’t see abstinence as the answer.


#7

The Church has pretty much ruled that using condoms during sex is never licit, but it wouldn’t be because of the procreative aspect of sex but because of the unitive aspect. Using a condom during intercourse prevents sperm from being deposited in the vagina which is an essential part of the act according to the natural law theory advanced by the catholic church.

Now using a condom is certainly less serious than infecting your spouse with HIV but I can’t imagine the church ever encouraging people to do the lesser of two evils. If the pope really thought that using condoms in Africa would stop the spread of AIDS the only moral thing for him to do would be to say nothing at all.


#8

From the research that I have seen, Condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy, if used correctly. Keep in mind that the virus that causes AIDS is many, many, many times smaller than a human sperm, as are most of the other viruses and bacteria that cause STD’s. Just because no liquid gets through the condom doesn’t mean that a virus can’t. There is still some debate as to the effectiveness of condoms at preventing STD’s. To encourage people to use a condom to prevent the spread of STD’s is irresponsible. Not to mention that the education level, the quality of condoms and knowledge of their proper use in places like Africa is poor a best. To teach them that using a condom is going to protect them is misleading.

As for couples in developed countries…If you TRULY love someone, you would not knowing put them at even a 2% risk of contracting an illness that will KILL them. People need to get that while sex is important to a marriage it is only one small building block of what makes an amazing marriage.


#9

This is my understanding:

To help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease within marriage. A couple must keep close observations on their symptoms to prevent spreading them to their spouse, however it is possible for a married catholic couple to use a perforated condom. This does not protect completely obviously, but it does give a certain degree of skin protection, while remaining open to life.

This does** not** address this issue of HIV or AIDS, since it is the bodily fluids that are the problem, I am not sure what the church teaches there.

This is my understanding on what the church teaches for married couples dealing with genital warts, herpes or other skin-contact-spread diseases. Hope this helps.


#10

Look, this argument is like saying HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, or that Smoking Cigarettes doesn’t lead to lung cancer. The overwhelming majority of scientific fact states clearly that Condums, when worn correctly, DO prevent disease. While it’s true, the quality can vary greatly, the old addage you get what you pay for is sufficent.


#11

I won’t let DH drink after me if I have a cold because I do not want him to get sick. A loving spouse would never engage in something that could KILL the spouse, so, if they discovered HIV or AIDS, a loving spouse would never expose the other through sex.


#12

From the research that I have seen, Condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy, if used correctly. Keep in mind that the virus that causes AIDS is many, many, many times smaller than a human sperm, as are most of the other viruses and bacteria that cause STD’s. Just because no liquid gets through the condom doesn’t mean that a virus can’t. There is still some debate as to the effectiveness of condoms at preventing STD’s. To encourage people to use a condom to prevent the spread of STD’s is irresponsible. Not to mention that the education level, the quality of condoms and knowledge of their proper use in places like Africa is poor a best. To teach them that using a condom is going to protect them is misleading.

As for couples in developed countries…If you TRULY love someone, you would not knowing put them at even a 2% risk of contracting an illness that will KILL them. People need to get that while sex is important to a marriage it is only one small building block of what makes an amazing marriage.

Absolutely correct!

Even secular books that I have read in my pre-nursing studies will tell you that condoms, no matter how well you use them, aren’t very effective in protecting people as much as they think. Viruses are pretty much the smallest microbes in existence, smaller than bacteria, and especially smaller than human sperm. HIV can get through and one of the reasons it is so difficult to find a cure for this virus is because it is constantly evolving into a much stronger one. And like someone mentioned above, some STDs like herpes (another virus) can be contracted by skin-to-skin contact.

Even with STDs that you can take antibiotics for, most women don’t have symptoms. You could have serious reproductive health issues if these infections stay in you long enough.

If you love someone, you will put them before your desire to have sexual relations.


#13

Here let’s look at what the FDA has to say:
fda.gov/ForConsumers/byAudience/ForPatientAdvocates/HIVandAIDSActivities/ucm126372.htm

<<A person who takes part in risky sexual behavior should always use a condom.

The highest risk comes from having intercourse – vaginal, anal, or oral – with a person who has a sexually transmitted disease. If you have sex with an infected person, you’re taking a big chance. If you know your partner is infected, the best rule is to avoid intercourse (including oral sex). If you do decide to have sex with an infected partner, you should always be sure a condom is used from start to finish, every time.>>

<<Will a condom guarantee I won’t get a sexually transmitted disease?
No. There’s no absolute guarantee even when you use a condom. But most experts believe that the risk of getting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases can be greatly reduced if a condom is used properly.

In other words, sex with condoms isn’t totally “safe sex,” but it is “less risky” sex.>>

<<What is the government doing about condom quality?
The FDA is working with condom manufacturers to help ensure that the latex condoms you buy are not damaged.

Manufacturers “spot check” their condoms using a “water-leak” test. FDA inspectors do a similar test on sample condoms they take from warehouses. The condoms are filled with water and checked for leaks. An average of 996 of 1000 condoms must pass this test.

(Don’t try the water-leak test on condoms you plan to use, because this kind of testing weakens condoms.)

Government testing can not guarantee that condoms will always prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. How well you are protected will also depend a great deal on which condoms you choose and how you store, handle and use them.>>

<<Are condoms strong enough for anal intercourse?
The Surgeon General (C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General 1982-1989) has said, “Condoms provide some protection, but anal intercouse is simply too dangerous to practice”

Condoms may be more likely to break during anal intercourse than during other types of sex because of the greater amount of friction and other stresses involved.

Even if the condom doesn’t break, anal intercourse is very risky because it can cause tissue in the rectum to tear and bleed. These tears allow disease germs to pass more easily from one partner to the other>>

Is it enough to just “reduce” the risk? Really, SEX is so important that it’s okay to recommend something that gives a false sense of security (well, at least I used a condom!) when infact, a person can still be infected EVEN USING A CONDOM!


#14

Condoms can’t eliminate all the STDs in the world, but they do help reduce the spread of STDs. This is a fact, and discouraging the use of condoms because they can’t prevent *all *STDs is dumb. There’s no one solution to all the problems in the world, but condoms are on of them.

As for couples in developed countries…If you TRULY love someone, you would not knowing put them at even a 2% risk of contracting an illness that will KILL them. People need to get that while sex is important to a marriage it is only one small building block of what makes an amazing marriage.

Most STDs that I know of are treatable and don’t exactly kill you, they’re just bothersome to have. Even HIV doesn’t immediately translate into instant death. Further, if you suspect that you may have STDs you can always get yourself tested and do something about it before you have sex without anyone.

I disagree that one should stop having sex just to avoid 2% risk of getting an infection in the name of love. *You *may not have any problem not having sex for the rest of your life, but are you sure your husband is of the same opinion?

Even secular books that I have read in my pre-nursing studies will tell you that condoms, no matter how well you use them, aren’t very effective in protecting people as much as they think. Viruses are pretty much the smallest microbes in existence, smaller than bacteria, and especially smaller than human sperm. HIV can get through and one of the reasons it is so difficult to find a cure for this virus is because it is constantly evolving into a much stronger one. And like someone mentioned above, some STDs like herpes (another virus) can be contracted by skin-to-skin contact.

That depends on how you view “aren’t very effective.” Do you mean they’re considerably effective but compared to abstinence not very? Seeing that abstinence is 100% is effective, I can see why any number below it wouldn’t be very effective.

Regarding HIV transmission, taken from cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.htm:

Laboratory studies have demonstrated that latex condoms provide an essentially impermeable barrier to particles the size of HIV.

Obviously there will be one or two occasional slips, but just because there’s an exception doesn’t mean you can turn that into proof that condoms are ineffective.

Is it enough to just “reduce” the risk? Really, SEX is so important that it’s okay to recommend something that gives a false sense of security (well, at least I used a condom!) when infact, a person can still be infected EVEN USING A CONDOM!

I don’t get it. There’s risk in everything. There’s risk in driving a car, so we wear seat belts and pray that the airbag isn’t what will end up killing us. There’s risk in using the Internet. We put up firewall, install an antivirus program, and go on browsing websites not knowing what will happen whilst feeling that same false sense of security. There are amazing things computer-smart people can do to your computer and your personal data, and yet I don’t see anyone giving up their Internet life in favor of being as safe as they can be.


#15

I’ve seen the rates at 20% risk, not 2%
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11869658

computer use/viruses verses death, yeah that’s a great comparison. On top of the lack of condoms being good virus protection, they are morally a problem for Catholics. Seat belts aren’t. computer antivirus software isn’t.


#16

Call me crazy but I think promoting not spreading STD’s at all is a lot smarter, that promoting something that only might slow the spead. Eduction about how STD’s spread and how dangerous they can be is the most important tool in developing countries to stopping and reducing the spread of STD’s. Simply handing out condoms is not going to help.

This may sound harsh, but SO GLAD I’M NOT MARRIED TO YOU. :mad: You would willing put your spouse at risk of a serious infection or deadly virus just to have sex…wow. :eek: Luckily both my husband and I were virgins our wedding night and I don’t have to worry about this problem. Please also don’t portray all men as sex crazed idiots, there are actually a lot of great guys out there who agree with my husband that sex isn’t the sole foundation of a marriage.

You are correct that many STD’s are treatable…some can be cured if caught early enough, but others can only have their symtom’s managed. Herpes, HIV, Genital Warts are all viruses once you get them you have them forever. Of the bacterial variety if you don’t catch them soon enough they can have serious permenant effects INCLUDING death. Both Henry the VIII and Al Capone died of Syphillis.

You are right that there is risk in everyday life. Why would you add to it needlessly by engaging in higher risk behavior that you could avoid if possible. Along the same lines I wouldn’t get into a car with a drunk driver even if the odds were favorable I would make it home OK. Why take the risk?

Also I don’t know of anyone rendered sterile or dying of a computer virus.


#17

Marriage is designed by God, remember that.

Sex is designed as part of marriage, it is not the sole reason for marriage.

A husband is called to have sacrificial love for his wife, to give up anything to save his wife, that includes sex.


#18

LOL…That would be one crazy religon that banned seat belts and antivirus software :p.

Ironically, I am arguing this from the point of a protestant. I have no issues with condoms as birth control, but teaching that they prevent STD’s is not accurate, when technically they can’t even prevent pregnancy 100% of the time. Again I maintain that proper education is still the best defense against STD’s.


#19

Here, Here…That is so true. My husband and I would willing die to protect each other. Giving up something like sex to protect the other one seems trivial compared to that.

What do you think people did in the ages before tubal ligation and hysterectomies when told by a doctor…“Your wife might die if she gets pregnant”. They abstained…they did not hop into bed and go…“hey the risk is worth the orgasm”.


#20

Sadly, this sort of proves MY point that condums, when used correctly. greatly reduce the chances of getting an STD!

I look around at my sexually active friends, good friends, who I talk with about everything. Most of them using condums have used them for a long time. No diseases. No babies.I have gay friends who are also disease free and they use condums as well.

Look, I’m single, and obviously celibate. I don’t have a dog in the fight, and I’m not even advocating use of any ABC. I am saying to be honest when debating about them. And look around. Sometimes studies don’t show everything.

Now of course, they’re exceptions. Condums can break , and of course you (not you meaning Jennifer J) will know someone who got some terrible STD. But the exception does not justify the rule.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.