Princeton University

CHRISTIANITY AND HIV PREVENTION: A COMPREHENSIVE CHRISTIAN APPROACH TOWARDS HIV PREVENTION

ABSTRACT

Condom use is a critical element in a comprehensive, effective and sustainable approach to HIV prevention and treatment. Prevention is the mainstay of the response to AIDS. Condoms are an integral and essential part of comprehensive prevention and care programmes, and their promotion must be accelerated based on scientific grounds. A biblical reflection on Sex before or outside Marriage is referred to as Adultery. Should Christians Have sex outside or before Marriage questions like should they use Condoms when having sex outside or before Marriage  whether for Prevention of HIV/AIDS or Contraceptive has elicited a Strong Controversial discussions on Both Theological and Scientifical grounds and yet Christians still contract HIV when having Sex Outside or within Marriage every day.

OBJECTIVES: This Paper reviews theological Approaches to condoms and generates information on How Christians should approach issues of Condom use for Contraceptives and HIV Prevention.

METHODOLOGY: Comparative Comprehensive Literature Review

ORIGIN: World Vision’s Channel of Hope Approaches towards HIV/AIDS

CONCLUSION: The church, meaning any religion that has a strong bond with a certain group of people should have some type of moral obligation when it comes to their rules and regulations, essentially the commandments or laws. The Global Community should acknowledge the theological perspective on HIV/AIDS Prevention Strategy based on Biblical reflections on Lawful sex and at the same time Christians taking steps to see the vitality of the condom as a toll for reducing the spread of HIV without interfering spiritual norms in order to help in meeting the challenges of AIDS in the 21st century, both locally and globally.

Introduction

Condom use is a critical element in a comprehensive, effective and sustainable approach to HIV prevention and treatment. Prevention is the mainstay of the response to AIDS. Condoms are an integral and essential part of comprehensive prevention and care programmes, and their promotion must be accelerated based on scientific grounds. In 2007, an estimated 2.7 million people became newly infected with HIV. About 45% of them were young people from 15 to 24 years old, with young girls at greater risk of infection than boys. The male latex condom is the single, most efficient, available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The search for new preventive technologies such as HIV vaccines and microbicides continues to make progress, but condoms will remain the key preventive tool for many, many years to come. Condoms are a key component of combination prevention strategies individuals can choose at different times in their lives to reduce their risks of sexual exposure to HIV. These include delay of sexual initiation, abstinence, being safer by being faithful to one’s partner when both partners are uninfected and consistently faithful, reducing the number of sexual partners, correct and consistent use of condoms and male circumcision (UNAIDS 2004).

Despite of Much HIV reduction success stories form Uganda, Thailand, Cambodia, Brazil and many other countries where condoms use have shown significant reduction in HIV Prevention, Christians has been opposing overwhelming Promotion of Condoms as a method of HIV Prevention. There are several questions about Christian and Condoms. There has been a very strong Spiritual apprehensiveness in as far as integrating the Condoms in Religious approaches towards the fight against HIV/AIDS. The place of the condom in the Church/Christian community has not been very clear. The Condom has often been related to Promiscuity and this has cast a dart shadow on its significance in prevention of HIV infections and other STIs. (World Vision)

 I: SCIENTIFIC VERIFICATION OF EFFECTIVENESS OF CONDOMS IN HIV PREVENTION

Conclusive evidence from extensive research among heterosexual couples in which one partner is infected with HIV shows that correct and consistent condom use significantly reduces the risk of HIV transmission from both men to women, and also from women to men (Holmes et al). Laboratory studies show that male latex condoms are impermeable to infectious agents contained in genital secretions (WHO/UNAIDS).

HIV prevention education and condom promotion must overcome the challenges of complex gender, cultural, economical and spiritual factors however Condoms have played a decisive role in HIV prevention efforts in many countries.

Condoms have helped to reduce HIV infection rates where AIDS has already taken hold, curtailing the broader spread of HIV in settings where the epidemic is still concentrated in specific populations. Condoms have also encouraged safer sexual behavior more generally. Recent analysis of the AIDS epidemic in Uganda has confirmed that increased condom use, in conjunction with delay in age of first sexual intercourse and reduction of sexual partners was an important factor in the decline of HIV prevalence in the 1990s(Singh S et al). Thailand‘s efforts to de-stigmatize condoms and its targeted condom promotion for sex workers and their clients dramatically reduced HIV infections in these populations and helped reduce the spread of the epidemic to the general population. A similar policy in Cambodia has helped stabilize national prevalence, while substantially decreasing prevalence among sex workers. In addition, Brazil‘s early and vigorous condom promotion among the general population and vulnerable groups has successfully contributed to sustained control of the epidemic.

II: THE ABC MODEL, THEORO-BEHAVIOURAL PERSPECTIVE

The predominant HIV prevention strategy exported to Africa from the United States has three messages: abstain from sex, be faithful to your partner in monogamous marriage, or use condoms every time you have sex. Abstain, be faithful, Condoms: ABC. This exportation comes through the funding the Bush Administration has committed to HIV prevention and treatment through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFER).The ABC approach is the only model that guides HIV prevention programs under PEPFAR. The first and third messages—abstinence and condom use—are defined in opposition to each other. “Abstinence” is a noun that invokes a certain kind of behavior—a behavior of refusal—and connects that behavior to identity. We know what kinds of persons abstain. “Condom” is a noun that invokes a certain kind behavior—a behavior of activity—and connects that behavior to identity. We know what kinds of persons use condoms. The terms themselves are exclusive by definition—one who abstains does not use a condom—but they are also exclusive in terms of the values they inscribe on the person who behaves in the ways they underwrite. Each one reinforces mutually exclusive identities that are perceived as threats to the other.

Christianity plays a central role in constructing and maintaining this dichotomy, both in Zambia and in the United States; over 90% of Zambians identify as Christian and the preamble to the country’s constitution states that Zambia is a Christian nation. In the United States, Christianity provides a number of mechanisms to underwrite abstinence and to support people who abstain in their identity as abstainers—theological texts, biblical interpretations, TRUE LOVE WAITS,youth rallies, weighty traditions, and ethical arguments. These mechanisms do not merely reinforce this identity in the United States. They are part of the prevention messages exported by the United States to other countries under PEPFAR. For example, True Love Waits, the abstinence support model developed by American evangelicals, has become the predominant governmental HIV prevention strategy for young people in Uganda. This strategy is funded through PEPFAR and the initiative is spreading to other African countries as President Bush acknowledged in his address to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2007: “I thank the Southern Baptists who are working to promote a culture of life abroad by helping lead the fight against… HIV/AIDS. In Uganda, Southern Baptists sponsor… True Love Waits…. And now we’re building on the success by expanding this important program to six more countries in Africa.”

If Christianity has a number of mechanisms to support abstinence and the identity of the one who abstains, it does not employ similar mechanisms to underwrite condom use or to support any identity that values condom use; those mechanisms, with very rare exceptions, are constructed and maintained outside of Christian communities. Most often, when Christians develop an argument of limited approval of condom use, those arguments generally advocate accommodation: “We Christians will agree that condoms should be used so that the spread of HIV might be slowed.” In these arguments, the rhetoric does not imply that condoms are things that Christians ourselves might use but are things that Christians could permit others to use to lessen the spread of HIV. The problem with limiting Christian speech to this claim is at least two-fold: 1) it assumes that Christians ourselves do not use condoms to limit the spread of HIV, and 2) it reinforces the assumption that people who do use condoms are the kind of people who are specifically not Christian.

The second behavior in the ABC triumvirate is ‘Be faithful.” The model is almost always invoked in social contexts as monogamy, the formal ideal of modern heterosexual marriage, professed both by the state and by the church. “Be faithful” is a natural partner to “Abstinence” for the predominant sexual ethical narratives of Christianity. Invoking abstinence and fidelity, those narratives articulate common claims of upright morality as well as socially approved identities: people who are abstinent until marriage become faithful partners in marriage, according to the rhetoric. This mutual support may make for a coherent ethical and moral code and it may help reinforce long-held norms of the way one should live one’s life..

If “Abstinence” and “Condoms” are mutually exclusive while “Abstinence” and “Be faithful” present an interconnected coherent picture to which one should aspire, then “ABC” prevention messages may, in fact, be detrimental to the people in relationships in which one person is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative (serodiscordant relationships). Because “Abstinence” and “Be faithful” are so powerfully linked to a certain kind of identity imbued with moral authority, there is no space to imagine a kind of moral identity that consists of both fidelity and condom use.

Kristin Dunkle, a behavioral scientist at The Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, collaborated with colleagues from Emory and San Francisco to explore this very question in Zambia. Their findings were published in July 2008 in Lancet. Dunkle and her colleagues analyzed data from demographic and health surveys conducted on 2,279 residents of Lusaka, Zambia and found that the vast majority (between 55% and 92%) of new infections in Lusaka occur in long-term serodiscordant relationships. The researchers estimate that voluntary HIV testing for long-term married or cohabitating serodiscordant couples accompanied by counseling on risk reduction and condom use would reduce the annual incidence rate of new infections from 20% to 7%. This simple intervention would prevent between 35% and 60% of all new HIV infections in Lusaka. Kristin Dunkle and her colleagues have demonstrated the limits of “ABC” prevention and offer a simple, realistic model that could drastically impact HIV transmission rates in Zambia. The challenge—a challenge embedded in religious language and practice—consists of finding ways to articulate a new kind of identity: the moral, condom-wearing Christian. If American Christianity were to develop the mechanisms to help articulate this identity, they could serve not so much as a new commodity to be exported to sub-Saharan African countries through PEPFAR but as moral, ethical, and theological perspectives that could complicate prevalent norms among Christians here in the United States regarding abstinence, fidelity, and condom use. We have already seen how those norms serve as the necessary precursor to programs such as True Love Waits and how those concrete programs are then spread to developing countries through PEPFAR.

The value-laden meanings of “Abstinence” are so tied to the value-laden meanings of “Be faithful” that they crowd out any other meanings of value in regard to the complexities of sexuality and sexual behavior. Those of us who care about Christian languages and practices—languages of theology, ethics, or Biblical interpretation and practices of formation, compassion, or social justice—have some capacity to begin to create those other meanings of value; forging connections between the value-laden meanings of “Be faithful” and the value-laden meanings of “Condoms” would be a good place to start.(John B,2008)

We must remember that up until now, efforts to stem the tide of African AIDS have focused on condom distribution and other so-called safe sex methods. But the African nation that has witnessed the most dramatic reduction in HIV infections took a different approach. Uganda has aggressively promoted an “ABC” prevention approach that prioritizes “Abstinence,” “Be faithful,” and only then “Condoms.” Ugandans have responded with a dramatic delay in the onset of teen sexual activity and a reduced number of sex partners among adults.

The result? HIV infection rates have plunged from 18.5 percent in 1995 to 8.3 percent by the end of 1999—a 50 percent drop in just four years.

Ugandan newspapers give considerable credit for this success to Trans World Radio, which joined the AIDS battle with a one-time special produced in Kenya and with weekly AIDS broadcasts. The programs comfort the afflicted and instruct the healthy on how to avoid becoming infected—not by condom use, but through teaching chastity before marriage and fidelity afterward.

By contrast, African nations that emphasized condom use alone, and have the highest condom user rates on the continent, also suffer the highest HIV prevalence rates. Clearly, condoms must no longer be treated as a panacea for HIV prevention.

The Bush proposal endorses the ABC formula. Now, we can anticipate complaints that this is just another attempt by the Religious Right to impose its prudish morality. But is it compassionate to continue pushing “safe sex” campaigns when we know a different approach will save millions of lives?

Acting now is a moral imperative. Plagues have always been with us, but in the past people could do little besides bury the dead and mourn. We can do something about this modern plague—and we must, remember that great nations prove they are great not merely through the might of their armies, but also through the mercy of their hearts.

Bill Frist, the new Senate Majority Leader, strode into Room S. 207 at the Capitol, where he was to meet with roughly 30 Christian and African leaders on February 5. The topic was how to battle HIV/AIDS worldwide, and the Tennessee Republican had come not to fault the efforts of Christians but to praise them. “In my eight years here, evangelicals have now stepped up to the plate. They represent a great hope, and I think there’s a great awakening on this issue,” said Frist, according to meeting participants. “The ultimate cure cannot be found without the church.”Frist’s comments highlight the dramatic change in evangelical responsiveness to the HIV/AIDS problem overseas. Richard Cizik, vice president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, recalls that ten years ago he was one of two evangelicals to attend a White House conference on HIV/AIDS. Christians today, in contrast, are lobbying for specific strategies to prevent infection and care for people with HIV/AIDS.

 III: CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE ON HIV PREVENTION ANDB CONTRACEPTIVES

The Condom is not found in The BIBLE and majority thinks it only induces promiscuity and even so there are a lot of things which are existing in our real world which are not found in the bible, the airplane for example, the church’s argument is not about whether Condom is found in the Bible but rather whether its use can be justified Biblically. The Catholic Church for example has stuck steadfastly to its opposition to condoms despite the AIDS crisis and widespread use of contraceptives by Catholics around the world. As long as the church holds out, it can depict itself as bravely championing the truth against the pressures of society. To reverse positions now would make past opposition to condoms look backward. The church would lose a good deal of face with such a reversal

All religious communities endorse mature sexuality. It is at the core of the Global Ethic promulgated by the Parliament of World Religions. Sexual development and maturity are the means by which life is transmitted and nurtured. Indeed self-respect and human rights are intimately connected with the way sexuality is defined, expressed and made responsible. Religious leaders around the world agree that sexual maturity cannot be achieved only by making sex safe, by preventing disease, by improving the technology of contraception. Maturity requires attitudes of respect, responsibility and rights, which transcend the concrete conditions of sexual behavior. Indeed, it might be argued that unless these prior attitudes are in place, even safe sex may be an assault on the dignity of others.

Catholic Church leaders tend to support the distribution of prophylactics when there is an educational program that underlines church teaching on responsible sexuality. Thus, Monsignor Jacques Suaudeau of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family writes in L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, that “the use of prophylactics” in some circumstances, “is actually a lesser evil but it cannot be proposed as a model of humanization and development” (April 19, 2000).The French Bishops Council declared in 1996 that the use of condoms “can be understood in the case of people for whom sexual activity is an ingrained part of their life style and for whom [that activity] represents a serious risk; but it has to be firmly added that such a method does not promote mature sexuality.” The German Bishops Conference issued a document in 1993 which affirmed that “human conscience constitutes the decisive authority in personal ethics.” They add that “consideration must be given to the high number of abortions among single mothers and the spread of suffering even if the underlying behavior cannot be condoned in many cases…”Ranking church leaders, in individual statements, support the use of contraceptives in the context of responsible sexuality and prevention of AIDS. The Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Lustiger, declared in 1989 that love and chastity were essential values in sexual maturity but that if a person is “HIV positive” and “cannot live in chastity” that such a person “should use the means that have been proposed” to prevent infection of others. Bishop Eugenio Rixen of Goias, Brazil, adds that the principle of the lesser of two evils makes the “use of condoms less serious, morally speaking, than getting infected or infecting other people with the AIDS virus” (www.cath4choice.org:June, 2000).

Most people would be astonished to hear that ninety percent of the theologians on the papal birth control commission, at the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, maintained that artificial birth control is not intrinsically evil and that official teaching against contraception could be changed. The Catholic tradition is more resilient than many realize when issues of human life and dignity are compelling. For most of its history, the Church condemned cremation severely as a violation of the dignity of the human body and an attack on the central Catholic doctrine of the resurrection of the body. It felt so strongly on this issue that a Catholic funeral service was forbidden to all who would choose cremation. Even in those centuries, however, cremation was not only allowed but also considered a moral duty in times of Plague when infection and the lives of others were at issue.

Catholic doctrine forbidding usury or the taking of interest on money continued through its history. Usury is condemned in the Bible and it was affirmed by centuries of Catholic teaching. Yet, when it was clear that the new economic order of the modern period depended on usury for the financial health of the human family, the imputation of interest on money loaned was not only deemed permissible for the world at large but became the norm for the Vatican banking system itself.

Catholic teaching on a just war theory prevailed without significant challenge from the time of Augustine in the fifth century until the twentieth century. Just war theory maintains that there are legitimate and even moral reasons for engaging in war provided that war is a last resort, that proportionate and not excessive means are used and that non-combatants are protected. The advent of nuclear weapons has changed Catholic thinking in this area. Nuclear war is seen as unjust because proportionality and the indiscriminate killing of innocent people, even of the planet, have changed the moral equation. The protection of life, perhaps of all life, has led Catholic leaders to conclude that the very possession of nuclear weapons is morally questionable. The United States Catholic Bishops wrote in their 1983 pastoral letter, “The Challenge of Peace,” that there must be a “completely fresh appraisal of war” and that it was irresponsible “simply to repeat what we have said before.” Nuclear war was deemed immoral; the possession of nuclear weapons was considered tentatively moral only as an interim measure to minimize the threat of a nuclear holocaust and as a step “on the way toward progressive disarmament.”

The consistent thinking of the Church has affirmed the lesser of two evils. This approach reasons that the ambiguity of choices sometimes makes it necessary to prefer one evil in order to prevent a greater evil. Thus, a pregnant woman may choose the removal of a cancerous uterus even if it entails the death of the fetus because the intention is the preservation of her life. It accepts the “evil” of the termination of prenatal life as a lesser evil, not intended directly.

A terminally ill patient may choose to forego all surgery and life support systems and permit death long before its biological inevitability as the lesser of evils. The “evil” of choosing one’s own death is seen as the lesser of evils when the alternative is prolonged, painful, and pointless continuation of life, achieved only through extraordinary methods.

The AIDS crisis claims more human lives than Plague or nuclear weapons took in their history. The crisis has the potential to destabilize world financial systems, with consequent malnourishment and the death of millions not infected with AIDS. The economic crisis is as severe as the usury crisis of former centuries. Yet contraception is not condemned in the Bible; usury was explicitly forbidden there. If a biblical prohibition can be set aside when conditions change substantially, a non-biblical prohibition can even more readily be reversed when the consequences of human lives and the lesser evil are weighed in the balance.

The Church cannot and will not promote a “culture of death” if the lives of tens of millions of people can be saved through the moral choices open to the Catholic tradition. We have reached a point with contraception and AIDS where the intent is no longer the prevention of pregnancy but the prevention of death. Contraception in the context we are considering is not aimed at controlling population but at avoiding a holocaust.

The Church is convinced that an action that is intrinsically evil, corrupt to its very roots, cannot be utilized as a moral means even in a lesser of two evils approach. Thus, one may not kill innocent civilians to win a war even over an evil system such as Nazism. One may not control population growth with infanticide or forced abortion. One may not order the rape of women in order to demoralize the enemy and hasten the end of a war. Contraception, therefore, can only be universally prohibited if it is deemed intrinsically evil.

The encyclical letter of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae (1968), prohibited all means of artificial contraception. The pope, however, made it clear that this teaching was not infallible. He could not have done this unless there was doubt about the intrinsic evil of contraception. Indeed, the papal commission on birth control could not have been summoned, previous to the encyclical, unless there was doubt about the intrinsic evil of contraception. The vast majority of Catholics and of priests see no intrinsic evil in contraception. Indeed, immediately after the publication of Humanae Vitae, the official Catholic pastoral letters of national bishop’s conferences in Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States made it clear that these were instances when the conscience of a Catholic prevails against the papal prohibition. It was argued that a responsible use of sexuality might require that a couple, even though respecting the pope’s teaching, might conclude that the need to limit births and the need to preserve the sexual life of a marriage might prompt a couple, in conscience to choose contraception as the lesser of the evils.

The instances and examples we have cited happened long before there was an AIDS crisis, even before AIDS existed. In the light of the magnitude of death before us, in the context of entire nations of orphan children and indeed of cultures whose young people are substantially absent, a new approach is imperative. Catholicism can find in its resources and in its commitment to life the resiliency to allow and recommend condom use to prevent a sexual plague more catastrophic than the bubonic death which almost destroyed European civilization. The world does not always allow us to live in it in an ideal environment and according to our preferred wishes. It does demand of us, however, that we do live in the world and that we do so responsibly and generously. To stop AIDS is a life decision, a responsible choice, a generous action. When all efforts to promote mature sexuality are in place, we must also factor in the reality that all people are not mature. The realism of the Catholic tradition knows this and provides for this in other instances. Condoms to prevent AIDS can be a step on the way of teaching sexual maturity and responsibility. In the light of this, there is sufficient evidence that Catholics at large and leaders in increasing numbers affirm life over death and the protection of the innocent from the plague of AIDS.

Even the Catholic Church although it has burned condom use but I do believe that it will revise that approach. The Church has reversed itself on lots of big issues throughout history. The Catholic Church instituted hereditary slavery of Africans and now calls slavery “intrinsically disordered.” It forbade usury (charging interest on loans) and now allows it. It championed geocentrism and CREATIONISM, but now accepts modern cosmology and biology. It sanctioned monarchy and now advocates democracy. It called for Crusades but Pope John Paul II spoke out against the invasion of Iraq. The church practiced Capital Punishment and now opposes it. It opposed modern scholarship applied to the Bible and now accepts it within limits.

 At some point with each issue, the church found it could no longer afford to stick to its guns. It has had to revise its stand to remain within the pale. Its stand on an issue can be different from the secular consensus, but it can’t be so different that people can no longer take the church seriously. If the church still promoted slavery and monarchy, it would lose more by having stuck to its traditions that it lost by accepting social progress and following the advance of humanism. So the question isn’t whether the church is capable of reversing itself after making such a big deal about opposing condoms. The Vatican is so far removed from the laity on the condom issue that the church is starting to see high-level dissent. A spokesman for the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, for example, said, “Condoms have a place in the global prevention of AIDS.”  (Anthony T.P, June 2001)

IV: HIV/AIDS FROM BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE

Many people think that as long as they are married and Faithful to their spouses then they are safe. In sub Saharan Africa, heterosexual union is said to account for almost 80% of transmissions and globally as we knows has been commercialized causing more people to indulge in sexual activities with many partners. What used to be called ‘Illicit sex’ in the past is now called Commercial sex and is in most cases free for all who need it whichever from they would prefer, whether hetero or homosexual or other. Its also necessary to observe that a great number of people professing to be passionate advocates of human social security failed to display a humane attitude in dealing with matters of global concern such as the HIV/AIDS crisis and especially in embracing people that are adversely affected by a scourge such as abstinent men and women whose spouses where unfaithful enough to bring the virus within wedlock. Its quiet sad to note that much of the global effort aimed at overcoming impasse such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic has often been confronted with stern opposition  and sometimes this has been from the church. The sad part of this story is that there has been little or no realization on the part of some advocates that most of the victims of this diabolical quagmire are the people that were driven into it by some forces of spiritual, socio-economic, political and cultural inequalities and nequity.Others got it form their mothers and thus did nothing wrong to face the judgment that we church folk have often predetermined for the poor little children. We are also told that 61% of the women who are HIV positive in Africa today had sex with only one man, who most invariably was the husband. This puts a major question mark on the message of ‘Being Faithful to one Partner”. In essence, being faithful may not necessarily guarantee safety from infection. These forces are entrenched in naïve minds over considerably long period of time. Hence there is a need for us to promote the vitality of the condom as a toll for reducing the spread of HIV.

In a Group Discussion organized by World Vision Zambia Facilitated by G.Musonda where issues of ‘The Christian and the Condom” were discussed as and additional approaches to complement the Channels of Hope, a World Vision’s Approaches towards HIV/AIDS Prevention Programmes,six questions where disscussed,The questions included: Should Christians Have sex outside or before Marriage? Are the Christians having sex outside or before Marriage? Should Christians use Condoms when having sex outside or before Marriage? Does Condom use fit within the Biblical Perspective? Should Christians use Condoms for Prevention of HIV Infection? Can Christians contract HIV when having Sex Outside or within Marriage?

The answer to the First Question was obviously NO based on Biblical reflections as Sex before Marriage is referred to as Adultery. (The Bible, Ten Commandments Exodus 20:14).

The Group acknowledged that Christians are having sex outside or before Marriage   and this is accounted to the fact that human beings are always making mistakes and the Church struggles to teach Christians about Lawful and Unlawful sexual practices. It’s the Church’s believe that if Human being Practices what is called Lawful Sex (Sex only by only lawfully Married Couple) HIV will not be spread and People would have avoided the consequences of sin. (The Bible, Roman 6:23, Genesis 2:16-17).

There is a big Challenge to establish whether those Christians who in spite of God’s message on ‘Though shall not commit adultery’ still decide to have sex outside or before Marriage however to some extent the Church perhaps should agree on using a Condom for example in situations where one partner is Positive and Another is negative in a Lawful Marriage. However this is a Contradicting situation as Condom is not 100% effective and there are a lot of inconsistencies in its use and this poses a risk of infection to a negative partner.

The Bible is clear that God created the World and its all inhabitants for his own delight and glory. God’s ideal plan was to communicate together in perfect harmony with all creation in the world where there would be no pain, suffering, sickness, death, anguish and tear. Our first parents, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and lead to the proliferation of sin and human beings fallen short of God’s Glory. The Consequences of which lead to a world that is unlike God’s ideal world. In God’s Ideal world, HIV/AIDS would have not existed nor would murder, lying, sickness or anger, HIV/AIDS needs to be seen as one consequences, among many, of the world that has estranged itself from God.

Pain and sufferings whether due to HIV/AIDS or other causes are not parts of God’s Ideal World(Isaiah 65:19,Revelation 21:4).But in the presence world, God has allowed pain and sufferings to exist-not because he chooses it but because we as His creation have chosen it by our collective disobediences. HIV/AIDS has been spread by behaviors that are contrary to God’s world, However many people are affected or infected by HIV/AIDS through no fault of their own. Millions faithful spouses have been infected by unfaithful partners. Millions of Children have borne the pain and fear of losing parents. Countless others have been infected in their mothers tomb, others by infected through blood supplies, unsterllilized medical equipments and unhealthy cultural practices. It’s impossible to make sweeping generalizations about why people become infected or affected. It’s impossible to attribute motivations to God as why He allows the pandemic to continue. God has given us standards for personal behaviors that protect us from harming ourselves or others and if we follow these standards and encourage others to do so, we promote life in its fullness. And even if one of us is infected by HIV, God calls us to help those who are in need without attempting to pass judgment on what may have led them to the needy condition(John 9:3-4,Mathew 22:39).

 V: CONDOM: NEO THEOROGIGAL PERSPECTIVE

When used consistently and correctly, condoms has been shown to significantly reduce the transmission of HIV, Obviously the Bible doesn’t have a Chapter on Condom use. The Bible plainly teaches the Sanctity of Marriage .Marriage is a God designed relationship. God gave us a clear instruction to be faithful within marriage and abstinent outside marriage. The marriage relationship is the central to God’s teaching. We should do everything we can to promote choices and lifestyles that conform to God’s ideal. We are to do all we can to protect and preserve life. The Promotion of Condoms creates tension between sanctity of Marriage and sanctity of life. Condoms can protect lives by preventing the spread of HIV. However it’s also true that some might misuse the availability of Condoms to engage in sexual behavior that violates God’s desire for sexual purity and the sanctity of marriage. World Vision, A Christian organization  for example has taken the position of doing all we to honor both the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of life, Thus it promotes fidelity within marriage and abstinence outside of marriage as God’s desired sexual behavior and at the same time promoting the responsible and appropriate use of condoms in situations where abstinence is not chosen and human life must be protected, because condoms have been demonstrated to be reliable preventive to the transmission of HIV, However Condoms should never be considered a guarantee of Protection (Overthrowing with HOPE: World Vision’s Hand Book)

CONCLUSION

 The church, meaning any religion that has a strong bond with a certain group of people should have some type of moral obligation when it comes to their rules and regulations, essentially the commandments or laws. Progressive religion, especially in its interfaith aspects, must help in meeting the challenges of AIDS; but we need to take seriously the questions that secularists raise about the risks and problems associated with these efforts.

Christians should be in the lead, putting politics and prejudices aside to fight this great plague of the 21st century. Progressive religion (whether Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, or other) can and must help in meeting the challenges of AIDS in the 21st century, both locally and globally.

The World Vision’s HOPE initiative which promotes fidelity within marriage and abstinence outside of marriage as God’s desired sexual behavior and at the same time promoting the responsible and appropriate use of condoms in situations where abstinence is not chosen and where human life must be protected is a Good Step towards Christian realization of the Importance of Condoms in HIV Prevention.

The Global Community should acknowledge the theological perspective on HIV/AIDS Prevention Strategy based on Biblical reflections on Lawful sex and at the same time Christians taking steps to see the vitality of the condom as a toll for reducing the spread of HIV without interfering spiritual norms in order to help in meeting the challenges of AIDS in the 21st century, both locally and globally.

 REFERENCES:

1. The Holy Bible: New International Version

2. World Vision’s International: HIV/AIDS HOPE Initiative:2003 Edition

3.World Vision Zambia: The Christian and The Condom; Group Discussion exercise by George Musonda; an Addition to the Channels of Hope Programme.

4. World Vision: Overflowing with HOPE: Faith and Response in the age of HIV/AIDS:A Handbook for World Vision Staff: A resource provided by HIV/AIDS HOPE Initiative.

5.UNAIDS. 2004 Report on the global AIDS epidemic, page.72.

6.Holmes K, Levine R, Weaver M. Effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted infections. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. Geneva. June 2004.

7. WHO/UNAIDS. Information note on Effectiveness of Condoms in Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections including HIV. Geneva. August 2001.

8. UNFPA. 2007 report on donor support for contraceptives and condoms for STI/HIV prevention 2007.

9.Singh S, Darroch J.E, Bankole A. A, B, and C in Uganda: The Roles of Abstinence, Mongamy and Condom Use in HIV Decline. The Alan Guttmacher Institute. Washington DC. 2003.

10.  Gremy I, Beltzer N. HIV risk and condom use in the adult heterosexual population in France between 1992 and 2001: return to the starting point? AIDS 2004; 18:805-9.

11. Anthony T. Padovano, Catholic Theologian, June, 2001 ~ from the website:www.cath4choice.org

12. John Blevins: September 2008: Christianity and Condoms

13.Susan Henkin:August 2009: Religion and HIV/AIDS: When Interfaith is Not Enough.

14. Charles Colson with Anne Morse: June 2003: Beyond Condoms” To alleviate AIDS, we must sharpen our moral vision”

15. Mark Stricherz:April 2003:ABC vs. HIV: Christians back abstinence-fidelity plan against deadly virus

16. James Hitchcock: July 2005: Condom, Coercion, and Christianity: A Princeton Tale

 

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