Question 16


Dear Fr. Matthew @ the Abbey,
After observing your "Natural Planning" website, I have  
one question that I need someone from your viewpoint to clarify for me.  Scenario: You are married. Your husband has HIV. How do you have sex? 
Thanks,  Robbie 

 Greetings, Robbie, 

I have not seen a definitive answer from the Vatican on the question raised by situation of a husband with AIDS. 

Here is my considered opinion on the matter.  This is only my opinion, but I have dealt with this problem in my extensive work throughout Africa.  I have made speaking tours, and given many talks and conferences in eight countries of Sub Sahara Africa. 

If a husband has AIDS, and he loves his wife, then the last thing he would want to do is infect her with a lethal disease.  Besides being immoral, condoms are ineffective in preventing AIDS.  Wherever condoms are use, they increase the incidence of new cases of AIDS because they give people a false sense of security. Even if the condom were 100% effective, which it is not, it would still be totally immoral to use one, because the condom involves all the immoral dimensions of contraception.

The only solution in the case of a husband with AIDS is to practice total abstinence.  He simply cannot afford the risk of passing a deadly disease on to the woman he loves.  After the marriage is consummated, there is not an absolute imperative that the spousal act must continue.  Under normal circumstances the spousal act should continue, and be a renewal of the marriage covenant.  But, in this case, it would be a betrayal of the love which the husband professes for his wife. 

There are many other expressions of tenderness and love which a couple can demonstrate besides the marital act. 

Cordially yours, 

Fr. Matthew Habiger OSB