Pope Comes Out Against Condoms

Pope Benedict XVI, never one to shy away from controversy, is making waves again on his first pilgrimage to Africa as pontiff. Before his arrival today in Cameroon, he addressed condom use for the first time and said it is not the answer in the fight against HIV and AIDS—and that it speeds the rate of infections. “You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms,” he said. “On the contrary, it increases the problem.” Although Benedict’s position is not new—Pope John Paul II often said sexual abstinence was the best way to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS—it immediately sparked criticism from activists in sub-Saharan Africa, where 22 million people are infected with HIV. “His opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans,” said a representative of the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa.