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Philippines Conference of Catholic Bishops Endorses Condom Use Among Married Couples to Prevent HIV, Official Says

July 15, 2008

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines recently endorsed condom use among married couples as a method to prevent the transmission of HIV, Edwin Corros, executive secretary of CBCP's Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People, said recently, the Philippine Star/ABS CBN News reports. However, Corros added that condom use should be the "last resort."

According to the Star/ABS CBN News, condom use among married couples is one of the issues discussed in CBCP's new training manual on HIV/AIDS for pastoral workers. The manual aims to provide factual information on the disease and to teach people how to protect themselves from HIV. The manual will be given at no cost to Catholic schools in the hope that it will be incorporated into their curricula. Corros said that this is the first time that the Catholic Church in the Philippines has participated in the publication of a training manual on HIV/AIDS. He added that the Department of Health's National Epidemiology Center reported 35 HIV/AIDS cases in May, 84% higher than the same period last year. The center has reported a total of 212 HIV/AIDS cases for the first five months of this year, the Star/ABS CBN News reports.

Corros said that although he is not alarmed by the figures, he thinks that HIV/AIDS "has been a concern." He added, "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." Corros clarified that the Catholic Church is allowing the use of condoms only in order to save lives, adding, "But you see by using that (condom) we are not actually endorsing condom use. We would like to prevent deaths in the family." Before using condoms, a couple should try abstinence and faithfulness to each other, Corros said (Macairan, Philippine Star/ABS CBN News, 7/13).

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