Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2018.

Degree Name

Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD)


Dr. William O’Neill, S.J.


Since the emergence of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Uganda in the 1980s, it has become increasingly evident that the HIV/AIDS scourge disproportionately affects more women and girls than men and boys. Women and girls suffer a particular vulnerability due to this pandemic. There are social, economic, political, and cultural factors that precipitate and aggravate the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls in Uganda.

This dissertation contends that Catholic Social Teaching offers us one of the best and most comprehensive and integrative ways for addressing the HIV/AIDS scourge. We argue specifically for a rights-based solidarity as the most comprehensive and integrative method for tackling HIV/AIDS.

Dignity calls upon us to treat all persons with equal consideration. Dignity challenges us to pay particular attention to those whose equal dignity is most threatened. It is also dignity that gives rise to human rights. Human rights spell out the conditions that are necessary for honoring, protecting and preserving people’s dignity. To protect and preserve the rights of people, in turn, calls for the participation of all to the common good. To participate in the common good demands that people live in solidarity with one another. This solidarity becomes more critical when it comes to the most vulnerable members of society. Solidarity as a paradigmatic key of encounter of people with one another, challenges us to leave no one behind. The preferential option for the poor, on the other hand, becomes the hermeneutical principal for remedying social structures and policies so as to bring to the center everyone and especially the poor and vulnerable groups who are often left at the margins of society.

In this sense, Catholic Social Teaching invites and challenges us as members of society to cultivate a new way of “seeing, judging and acting” so as to bring on board the socially abandoned, the materially and economically impoverished, the politically oppressed and the culturally excluded members of society. The women and girls with HIV/AIDS in Uganda are among the most vulnerable, excluded, and impoverished group who merit our new way of “seeing, judging and acting” so that their suffering and illness serve to bring us in closer solidarity and not alienation.

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