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Historia

On-line version ISSN 2309-8392

Abstract

JOSHUA, Stephen Muoki. "Tell me where I can find the condom!" Catholic AIDS discourses in South Africa during the 1990s. Historia [online]. 2014, vol.59, n.1, pp. 72-87. ISSN 2309-8392.

Imagine a male celibate priest trying to talk about sex and AIDS to a church congregation whose majority is women! It is naturally embarrassing and challenging. This is the situation that most Catholic lay, religious, and the hierarchy had to deal with in South Africa during the 1990s.The article is an attempt to use archival and oral history materials collected between 2007 and 2010 to analyse how the Catholic Church spoke about HIV and AIDS and how that discourse influenced South African society during the 1990s. Here I argue that although the church's statements on AIDS, condoms, sex and sexuality during this period were openly defensive, often ambivalent, and characteristically passive, it was what the church said and how it said it that created controversies, more than anything else.

Keywords : HIV and AIDS; Southern Africa Catholic Bishops' Conference; condoms; church history; sex education.

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