Today is World AIDS Day and I can think of nothing better than recommending a paper on HIV, sex and religion. The current Editor's Choice
in the Journal of Medical Ethics
is an article with the self-explanatory title, 'Can the Catholic Church agree to condom use by HIV-discordant couples?' by Luc Bovens. There are many married couples, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, who are Catholic or deeply influenced by Catholic teachings. Some of these couples are HIV-discordant, i.e. one in the marriage is HIV-positive, and the other HIV-negative. The Catholic church is opposed to pre-marital sex using condoms, but what about condom use among HIV-discordant married couples? Would the Church accept the use of condoms to prevent transmission of HIV during marital sex? Or would the Church's position be that such married couples should simply abstain from sex altogether?
Bovens argues that the Church should permit the use of condoms in such cases. I will not give away the argument, which is well-constructed and attempts to take Catholic objections to condom use as much into account as possible. One way to celebrate World AIDS Day: thinking of how Catholics -- including HIV-positive ones -- can experience the pleasures of (safe) sex in good conscience.
Labels: Africa, bioethics, Catholic, condom use, HIV