CHRISTIAN HEALTH CARE AND AIDS PREVENTION
In the developed world the major means by which HIV/AIDS is transmitted is homosexual anal
sex. Most of those who contract the disease in this manner are able to qualify for
treatment. This situation is in stark contrast to that in the developing world where
HIV/AIDS is heterosexually transmitted and very few victims receive the medications which
prevent the onset of complications and death. Even in developed countries, those who
acquire HIV/AIDS through intravenous drug use or heterosexual relations are often
neglected by the health care system.
For those who have access to the newest forms of treatment the prognosis is very
positive. While the newest drug regimes are expensive, they appear to delay significantly
and perhaps permanently the onset of the most serious complications associated with the
disease including early mortality. As HIV/AIDS becomes a chronic rather than almost always
fatal disease an entirely new set of problems faces health care providers.
Prevention is still extremely important. Each infected person will need years of
expensive treatment. The latest research suggests that even the best of the new drugs do
not eliminate hidden reservoirs of the virus.
Of even more concern is the problem of the creation and proliferation of drug resistant
strains of the virus. A patient does not take the prescribed medications on schedule risks
developing a resistant strain of the virus. The fact that drug resistant strains of the
virus are appearing among those newly infected and previously untreated suggests that
those infected and under treatment are continuing to engage in activities which spread the
virus -- particularly unprotected anal sex.
Health care providers need access to accurate information about homosexuality in order
to understand homosexually active HIV/AIDS patients and to provide comprehensive care.
Unfortunately because the homosexual community is involved in a political battle, the
activist want to portray homosexuality as just like heterosexuality except for one small
difference. They most particularly do not want to expose the behavior patterns of the 50%
of homosexuals at risk for HIV/AIDS.
At the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, homosexual activists insisted that it was
merely by chance that the infection struck their community first and that it was only a
matter of time before HIV/AIDS was equally prevalent in the heterosexual community. They
insisted that condom education would control the spread of the disease and that there was
no need to institute commonly used public health measures such as contact tracing to
control the epidemic.
Many people continue to accept the claims of the homosexual activists at face value,
when in fact all the research shows that the education campaign, after a small initial
success, has failed to stop the epidemic. Epidemiologists now predict that for the
foreseeable future one out of two men who have sex with men will become HIV positive.
While this is less that the 60% to 70% infection rate seen in the early days of the
epidemic in the epicenters of infection like San Francisco, it is still a staggering
HIV/AIDS is not the only health risk for men who have sex with men. Hepatitis C is
spread by the same activity, anal sex and co-infections are common. Human papilloma virus
is epidemic and given the proven relationship between HPV and cancer, this may be an
epidemic waiting to happen. There are a staggering number of other diseases and the
possibility that should a new disease appear, particularly one transmitted by genital/oral
activity, that it would sweep through this community, as HIV/AIDS did in the late 70s.
CHRISTIAN HEALTH CARE DILEMMA
From a Christian point of view HIV/AIDS is a disease that is acquired through acts
which are morally disordered, such as sexually acts outside marriage and illegal
intravenous drug use, and then transmitted to spouses, children, health care workers, and
recipients of blood products. Chastity and temperance would stop the epidemic in tracks.
If everyone refrained from sexual activity outside marriage and from illegal intravenous
drug use, the epidemic would grind to halt. However, those charged with fighting HIV/AIDS
have focused their efforts on condom distribution and clean needles for drug addicts, in
spite of the fact that these methods have proven ineffective in halting the epidemic in
at-risk populations. As the epidemic among homosexual men continues, the pressure on
Christian health care facilities to provide condoms and condom education will undoubtedly
There is another solution -- one which Christian health care workers at every level
should be aware of -- namely the prevention and treatment of same-sex attraction in men.
Men who are not having sex with other men, whether because they are abstinent or because
they are sexually attracted to women, are at a far lower risk of HIV/AIDS.
Prevention and treatment of same-sex attraction in men calls for interventions at every
Prevention of same-sex attraction by good parenting -- Teaching parents how to
encourage healthy gender identification in boys.
Prevention of same-sex attraction by early identification and treatment for at-risk
boys -- Teaching parents, teachers, pediatricians, and priests to recognize the symptoms
of gender identification problems early and making
sure effective treatment is available.
Prevention by warning adolescents confused about their sexual orientation about the
availability of treatment and the risk involved in same-sex sexual activity for males.
Early identification and treatment of sexually abused boys -- These young men are at
risk for sexual compulsion, prostitution, and homosexuality.
Psychotherapy of those who are homosexually attracted before they engage in same-sex
Psychotherapy for those who are homosexually active.
Support groups which help men who are sexually attracted to other males to live
Psychotherapy and support for those who want to develop their heterosexual potential.
Treatment for sexual addiction, sexual compulsion and sexual brokenness.
When one reviews the research on the treatment of homosexuality, one can conservatively
assert that about 30% of those who enter treatment for homosexuality with an experienced
therapist are able to achieve a heterosexual adjustment. An additional 30% are able to
control their homosexual behavior, although they do not develop a sexual attraction to
females. Each of these outcomes is from a Christian point of view acceptable. In terms of
preventing HIV/AIDS both are effective.
Unfortunately, most health care workers do not know that effective treatment is
If the picture of homosexual men presented to the media corresponded the reality of
homosexual life, there would be no AIDS epidemic. The majority of homosexual men are not
in committed and sexually faithful relationships. Research demonstrates that a substantial
proportion of homosexually active males routinely engage in anonymous sex in public or
semi-public places and that this behavior is often accompanied by the use alcohol or
illegal drugs. This combination of risk and intoxication lead to a situation where failure
to use a condom is a common occurrence and disease transmission is high. Even those
homosexuals who are in a "relationship" are rarely sexually faithful and these
relationships are of short duration.
The problem is often oversimplified as a debate between those who see condoms are seen
as the solution and those who believe homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle. While each
individual does have the free will to say no to immorality, same-sex attraction and sexual
compulsions often persist in spite of the individuals best efforts. Through therapy and
participation in support groups men troubled by same-sex attraction can come to understand
the forces that are driving them. Many therapists believe that same-sex attractions are
the result of unmet childhood needs or a reaction to childhood traumas. If the man can
meet his childhood need for same-sex affirmation in a non-sexual way through healthy male
friendship, his need for same-sex sexual encounters diminishes. A man traumatized by
sexual abuse or childhood rejection, can work through his anger, loneliness and
There was a time when alcoholism was considered an untreatable condition, today health
care professionals recognize the work of Alcoholics Anonymous. Of course not every person
referred to AA recovers, but that doesn't stop the referrals.
Today a variety of support groups exist for those troubled by same-sex attraction and
health care professionals should know how to refer patients to those groups --
particularly men who have already contracted a sexually transmitted disease and are at
risk for HIV/AIDS.
Chastity is particularly difficult for homosexual men - compassion does not mean saying
"Chastity is too tough for you, so we'll give a condom and treat you with compassion
when 50% of you contract HIV." True charity involves speaking the hard truth and then
being there, not just for a week but for years. True charity involves supporting the
homosexual man through the therapy process. One of the essential parts of the recovery
process is learning how to build healthy relationships with non-homosexual friends. The
homosexual in recovery needs to be able to have friends who know about his struggle and
will support him even if he slips and falls. Loneliness is a serious problem. Recovery
from homosexuality takes time. Those in the field recommend that these men wait five years
before they consider marriage. For some marriage is not an option.
As Christians we can offer one more thing to the man struggling with same-sex
attraction -- our prayers.