CBCP OKs condoms for married persons with HIV
By EVELYN MACAIRAN
The Philippine Star
7/13/2008 12:10 AM
Married persons infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and those with full-blown Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) will be allowed to use condoms to eliminate the risk of infecting their partners, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said.
Fr. Edwin Corros, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI), however, said condom use should be "the last resort."
Before using condoms, the partners should try abstinence and faithfulness to each other.
He clarified that the Church is only allowing the use of condoms in order to save a life – the life of the patient’s partner. "But you see by using that (condom) we are not actually endorsing condom use. We would like to prevent deaths in the family."
"I also think that the person also has the right to express the love to his or her partner. So this is practical. (Besides) you cannot also be sure that using condom would be 100-percent proof," Corros said.
The CBCP’s stand on condom use is one of the issues discussed in its newly launched training manual on HIV and AIDS for pastoral workers.
Corros said this is the first time that the Catholic Church in the Philippines will participate in the publication of a training manual on HIV and AIDS. It aims to provide factual information on the disease and how people can protect themselves from being infected.
The training manual will be given free to Catholic schools with the hope it would be incorporated in their curriculum to educate their students.
Corros said that the Department of Health (DOH) National Epidemiology Center reported 35 HIV-positive and AIDS cases for May, 84 percent higher than the number reported during the same period last year. The figure brings to 212 the total number of cases for the first five months of this year.
He said that while he was not alarmed by figures, "but I think it has been a concern. We have to think of ways (to address the problem) because it is not only the life of the victim that we have to consider but his or her family as well. This is how we look at the pastoral side."
Of the 35 cases, seven of them involved overseas Filipino workers. Corros said these workers "looked for comfort" when they were away from the country and ended up having a sexual relationship.
"I think our migrants have to be educated and that is what we at ECMI are pushing for," he said.