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Argument: Contraceptives protect married women from HIV-infected husbands

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Marcella Alsan. "Catholic Church condom prohibition comes face to face with reality of AIDS in Africa". Catholic.com. 24 April 2006 - Extolling abstinence and fidelity, as the Catholic Church does, will not protect her; in all likelihood she is already monogamous. It is her husband who is likely to have HIV. Yet refusing a husband’s sexual overtures risks ostracism, violence, and destitution for herself and her children.

Given these realities, isn’t opposing the use of condoms tantamount to condemning countless women to death? In the midst of the AIDS epidemic, which has already killed tens of millions and preys disproportionately on the poor, the condom acts as a contra mortem and its use is justified by the Catholic consistent ethic of life.

...As already noted, the church in Africa is facing a grim reality even when it comes to sex in marriage. According to UNICEF, teenage brides in some African countries are becoming infected with the AIDS virus at higher rates than sexually active unmarried girls of similar ages. That’s because young brides are acquiring HIV from their husbands, who tend to be many years older and were infected before marriage. Clearly, abstinence and fidelity prevention strategies will not reliably protect these women. The result is reflected in the epidemiology of the disease: more than two-thirds of new HIV infections among people aged 15 to 25 occur among women. In some areas of Africa, girls are five to six times more likely to be HIV-positive than boys of the same age.


American Jesuit theologian Fr. James Keenan, addressing a media forum in the Philippines [“Catholic theologian endorses condom use to prevent transmission of HIV”. The Advocate. 10 Aug. 2001]. - "If a husband violates his marital vows and sleeps with other women, he must make sure that he does not transmit the virus to his wife, else he would be violating the principle of justice. This is where the principle of ‘lesser evil’ comes in."[1]

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