H.I.V. + Spouse and marital duties


Continuing the discussion from Contraception in Africa: PS: It was closed I think because some people turned it into a flame war, so PLEASE do not do this here at all. If that was not the reason, then I apologize (to the mods) and please feel free to close this one as well.

Yeah, I agree that’s problematic on its face but I still have massive incredulity about this being the cause of infection rates in any statistically relevant way. If these people are obedient enough not to use contraceptives, they will also be obedient enough not to willfully violet the law of charity and endanger the life of their spouse. Abstaining from sex is not impossible for believers, believe it or not. I also think a person who decides to go ahead and infect their spouse is not going to be worried about condom use.


If an infected spouse is taking antiretroviral medication for the HIV so that they are undetectable, then it is possible to have sexual intercourse without a condom since the possibility of infection is extremely small. If the uninfected spouse also takes an antiretroviral, it is even safer. There are a number of cases of serodiscordant couples who wanted to have children and this has been found to be very safe.


Really? That is interesting. I have never heard of this. Thank you for the information. If you have a link where I could read this further, that’d be great. I know a person who just found out they were infected and are very distraught that their dreams of becoming parents have just gone up in smoke.


Here’s one article I found:

Now a new way of using anti-HIV drugs called PrEP - normally given to people who are HIV positive - could potentially mean couples could try and conceive risk-free.

Dr Nelly Mugo from the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Nairobi and a team from Washington University have been running a trial.

"The Partners PrEP study took over 4,700 couples, one of whom had HIV, and one who didn’t. The person who wasn’t infected took PrEP over the course of 36 months.

"We found that having the drug in your system reduced the rate of transmission by over 90%.

“If the positive partner was also taking antiretroviral drugs, the risk of transmission would reduce to zero or close to zero”


Forgive me, @Thorolfr, (I don’t know if you’re a doctor or researcher) but are ARVs (anti-retrovirals) harmful in any way (side effects)? I am thinking here that this might possibly lead to some form of vaccine down the line that makes it impossible to contract H.I.V. I mean wow…90% success rate is crazy positive!


Why would you marry someone that has a disease?


It’s possible they get infected after, or that they don’t get tested prior.


The latter might be grounds for an annulment.


I don’t think so. Annulment would require something like deception. You can’t reveal you’re infected if you don’t know you are.


True love… and true “dedication of life” which does not depend on sex alone.
Besides, it’s a charity in and of itself.

“Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jhn 15:13)
This verse has a great depth than just the literal meaning, obviously.


Some people just won’t abstinence as an answer so
I’m trying to find something else out.


I think only a saint could do this, personally. I would find different explanations for how one person alone could be infected in a marriage.


Hi, I was also thinking abut a situation where one spouse Is HIV+ and the HIV- spouse wants condom use. Much talk has been made of “why would one want to endanger their spouse”. Well what about a situation where the HlV+ spouse doesn’t seem to care or understand.

I’ve read of cases in the developing world where the husband has HIV, the wife does not. She does not feel able to refuse her husband, but knows that it she contracts HIV she is looking at leaving her children AIDS orphans. The culture means that taking her children and leaving is impossible. A very complicated complex situation.

I know condoms are not 100%, but they are far far less risky than having unprotected sex. And I struggle in denying that woman condoms in that situation.


Last I remember reading Tenofovir, the active drug in the Truvada cocktail used in PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) carries with it an increased incidence of kidney failure and liver cancer. These appear decades and decades later such that the benefit obtained by remaining HIV negative outweighs their risk. If I were a Sub-Saharan African woman I’d much rather live to see 70 and die of liver cancer than die at 40 of AIDS.


Or use condoms very carefully and die peacefully in my sleep of old age.


“Old age” is a euphemism for dying of some disease that we never had to worry about back in the day because we’d die decades before it would ever arise: usually cancer. Chances are you’re still going to die of cancer, though not necessarily liver cancer, and you will have gambled away your immortal soul in the process by engaging in behavior that is intrinsically evil. You’d also die childless.


I assumed we were talking about Catholics in Africa who are trying to live in accord with their faith, not individuals who don’t believe in what the Church teaches.

The Church has a stance on the HIV epidemic? What is that?

Oh I’m not judging the state of another’s soul. I’m pointing out the objective fact that a Catholic who engages in such behavior is gambling with their immortal soul, which is the case whenever anyone engages in behavior that is intrinsically evil. They may be excused from culpability due to ignorance or an attenuated consent of the will, or if still culpable and die without prior sacramental absolution may still be saved with a perfect act of contrition, but they’re still objectively risking Hellfire.


Not everyone who develops HIV gets it from a sexual liaison…


What about the negative partner using PREPs? They’ve got pretty good efficacy, in combination with the positive partner being on ARVs that would be a near negligible risk. Adding barrier protection would definitely be advisable but I know it would break your religions rules.


I would say that love forbids the infected spouse from demanding sex, but the uninfected spouse is free to agree to sex. Furthermore, even without pre-exposure prophylaxis, the risk of transmission during vaginal intercourse between an otherwise healthy couple is very low, and the PREP drugs make transmission even more unlikely. I raised a similar question a few years back, except in the scenario I proposed, the HIV+ spouse was not otherwise healthy, but rather riddled with opportunistic infections, while the HIV- spouse was battling cancer.

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