Follow up on Contraception when one of the married partners has AIDS


This is to follow up on the Apologist response to the question from yesterday.


I am struggling with the Church’s position as it relates to this issue. It seems to show a poor understanding on the Church’s part of the cultural dynamics in places such as Africa. In most, if not all, African countries, the women spouse cannot tell the male spouse that they need to refrain from sexual relations in order to prevent the transmittal of AIDS. The husband will simply not refrain. In an indirect manner, it seems that the women is being condemned to death. I heard that the Catholic Church does allow women to take the pill if required for medical reasons. If this is true, why would this example not fall into the same category? People may say the answer is education, but it could take decades to change the cultural attitude in Africa. Meanwhile many women will die. It seems contrary to life to me.

Can you help me understand better the Church’s position in this instance?


If a husband does not respect his wife’s refusal to engage in sexual relations, he is forcing her against her will to have sexual relations. Forcing a woman to have sex against her will is the crime of rape. Is the problem of rape solved by advising rapists to wear condoms? No, the problem of rape is solved by punishing the offenders and protecting the victims. It should be no less true in Africa than it is in North America. However, before the problem reaches the point of marital rape, what is needed is education: education that respects the intelligence and dignity of both men and women. In fact, there is evidence that abstinence education programs are working in Africa to stem the rates of sexually-transmitted disease infection, just as such programs also work in the United States. For more information I recommend the following article:

Uganda Winning the Battle Against AIDS – Using Abstinence by Sarah Trafford

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