Fight against AIDS should combat promiscuity, expert says


Father Juan Jose Perez-Soba recently argued that AIDS prevention campaigns do not attack the root of the problem because they fail to combat promiscuity. Instead, he added, they focus on promoting condom use.

“It is absurd to reject from the outset that the greatest reason for the spreading and contracting of a sexually transmitted disease is promiscuity and to not take effective means to prevent it,” the priest said in an interview with CNA. He spoke on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the disease.

Fr. Perez-Soba is a moral theology professor at the San Damaso Theology Department in Madrid, Spain and the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.

“It is even graver to the extent that information is hidden and the idea is conveyed that the condom is absolutely effective in preventing infection, which is false,” he added.

He drew an analogy between the pharmaceutical fight against AIDS and the fight against smoking. “It would be a serious error to confront the health risks from smoking by distributing cigarette holders with filters to die-hard smokers because we think it is impossible for them to quit and therefore we abandon that objective.”

Fr. Perez-Soba said the Catholic Church does not see the condom as the real solution to AIDS because AIDS “is a sexually transmitted disease.” Therefore an authentic approach to the pandemic is one of reducing the dangerous behavior that spreads the disease and not reducing the dangers present in such behavior.

In addition, “It gives a false sense of security that leads to an increase in dangerous behavior and thus jeopardizes the treatment of the AIDS phenomenon as a question of public health,” the priest continued.

AIDS has emerged during a time of “sexual revolution which insists that it is impossible not to have sexual relations, that they are ethically neutral and that information simply needs to be given in order to foster ‘safe sex’.”

“Obviously this is an attempt to provide a technical solution to a moral problem, which has to do with the true meaning of human sexuality,” he added.

In a society in which sexuality is reduced to a product for consumption and in which there is an abundance of “technical resources that promise maximum effectiveness with regards to the consequences of sexual acts,” it is easy to dismiss the Church’s position.

“AIDS is one of those issues that shows how ideologically driven our society has become,” the priest said.

On May 24, Fr. Perez-Soba published an article in L’Osservatore Romano in which he explained that the best option for a married couple in which one of the spouses has AIDS is to live in abstinence, as the use of the condom not only does not provide a solution and also entails an ethical problem.

In his article, he noted that it is worthwhile to recall that “although the use of the condom in a single sexual act could have a certain effectiveness in preventing AIDS infection, this does not guarantee absolute security not even in the act in question, and much less, over the entire sexual life of a couple.”

He also said the use of condom is not advisable because it also poses an ethical problem:  “The sexual act carried out with a condom cannot be considered a fully conjugal act as it has been voluntarily deprived of its intrinsic meanings.”

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