Group 11

The Great Condom Debate: The Catholic Church’s Role in Brazil’s AIDS Crisis

Alexa Lawhorn and Marina Moore

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Abstinence or safe sex? Brazil has been a model to the rest of the world in handling the HIV/AIDS Crisis, but their work was not without ideological obstacles. The National AIDS Program has butted heads with the prominent Catholic Church about promoting proper prevention. The Church argues abstinence ,denouncing NAP’s efforts to promote safe condom use. Regardless of their differences, both organizations understand prioritizing the health of the Brazilian population. Your hosts Alexa Lawhorn and Marina Moore lay out the details of the Brazilian Catholic Church’s involvement in the AIDS crisis.

Further Reading 

Muñoz-Laboy, Miguel A, Laura Murray, Natalie Wittlin, Jonathan Garcia, Veriano Terto Jr,

Richard G. Parker. “Beyond Faith-Based Organizations: Using Comparative Institutional

Ethnography to Understand Religious Responses to HIV and AIDS in Brazil.”

American Journal of Public Health 101, no. 6 (June 2011): 972-8. 


Muñoz-Laboy, Miguel, Laura R. Murray, Natalie Wittlin, Patrick A. Wilson, Veriano Terto, and

Richard Parker. “Divine targets: youth at the centre of Catholic and Pentecostal responses to HIV

and AIDS in Brazil.” Culture, Health, & Sexuality 13, no. 6 (June 2011): 657-668.


Murray, Laura R., Jonathan Garcia,  Miguel Muñoz-Laboy, and Richard G. Parker. “Strange

Bedfellows: The Catholic Church and Brazilian National AIDS Program in Response to

HIV/AIDS in Brazil.” Social Science & Medicine 72, no. 6 (March 2011): 945-952.


Rios, Luis Felipe, Francica Luciana de Aquino, Miguel Muñoz-Laboy, Laura R. Murray, Cinthia Oliveira, Richard G. Parker.“The Catholic Church, moral doctrine, and HIV prevention in Recife, Brazil: Negotiating the contradictions between religious belief and the realities of everyday life.” Culture and Religion 12, no. 4 (2011): 355-372. 

União de Todas as Nações.Odo Ya! Life With AIDS.” YouTube Video, 59:33, September 2, 2017.

Audio/Primary Sources

Beyrer, Chris. “Interview with Chris Beyrer on Brazil’s success in fighting HIV.” Interview by Rachel Gotbaum. The New England Journal of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Audio, 8:36.  

Gobbi, Paula. “Brazil: Macho Young Men in Sao Paulo.” Interview by Joao Paulo Charleaux. Audio, 10:00.

“KHN Morning Briefing: Brazilian AIDS Program Sends Letter to Catholic Church Concerning Campaign Promoting Condom Use.” Kaiser Health News, December 11, 2003,


Maravillatropical. “Grande Rio 2004 10/14 – Vamos Vestir a Camisinha, Meu Amor.” Youtube Video, 5:25, September 12, 2011.