EWTN Catholic Q&A
STD by blood transfusion
Question from Ubaldo on 03-06-2014:


one of the parishioners from the Parish I attend asked me a questions regarding the catholic view on the use of condom if in a marriage on of the 2 persons gets HIV or STD via a blood transfusion. the couple wants to be faithful to their commitment to procreate and want to have children. but the infected person does not want to infect the other person with the STD or HIV.

my view is that contraception is not allowed in any case.

Answer by Judie Brown on 03-11-2014:

Dear Ubaldo

Here is the response that I received from the physician I sent your question to and I hope his response assists you during this difficult time:

I like to start my response with a line I use often: moral principles are like tree branches- bend them far enough and they break. Contraception, no matter how "good" the intent for its practice appears to be, is not morally permissible. The principle of double effect would not apply because the first premise is violated in that the original action in itself cannot be morally objectionable. The first act then, the use of a condom, is in itself objectionable and therefore the double effect sequence ends there. These are difficult concepts to grasp and I can understand the confusion. Pope John Paul II summed it all up by saying "every sexual act must be open to conception". Condom use therefore is not permissible

Pope Benedict made a statement that lead to moe confusion by the press when he said the use of a condom in a homosexual relationship, where one of the partners is HIV positive, is morally neutral. He emphasized the fact that the homosexual act was in itself sinful but the condom use, since there is no possibility of conception anyway, was neutral when used to prevent disease transmission. Again, difficult concepts to comprehend, but when analyzed, are morally sound.

Finally I must add STD's are treatable and all that s required is abstinence until the course of therapy is completed and cultures become negative. The literature is constantly being updated on the mechanism of transmission with the HIV virus and some studies have shown the contagion/transmission of the virus is greatly diminished when on the retro viral therapy used in treating the HIV positive spouse. Current data is readily available from your doctor, public health offices, the CDC and online.

Anthony N Dardano, MD, FACOG, FACS