condom use as he arrived in Africa for his first visit to the continent as pope.
He landed in Cameroon, the first stop on a trip that will also take him to Angola.
Sub-Saharan Africa has been hit harder by AIDS and HIV than any other region of
the world, according to the United Nations and World Health Organization. There
has been fierce debate between those who advocate the use of condoms to help
stop the spread of the epidemic and those who oppose it.
The pontiff reiterated the Vatican's policy on condom use as he flew from Rome to
Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon (external - login to view), CNN Vatican analyst John Allen said.
Pope Benedict (external - login to view) has always made it clear he intends to uphold the traditional
Catholic teaching on artificial contraception -- a "clear moral prohibition" -- Allen
said. But his remarks Tuesday were among the first times he stated the policy
explicitly since he became pope nearly four years ago.
He has, however, assembled a panel of scientists and theologians to consider the
narrow question of whether to allow condoms for married couples, one of whom
has HIV, the virus that causes AIDS (external - login to view).
It is still not clear how the pope will rule on the matter, said Allen, who is also a
senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.
The Catholic Church has long been on the front line of HIV care, he said, adding
that it is probably the largest private provider of HIV care in the world.
More than 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV, according
to a 2008 UNAIDS/WHO report. Nine out of 10 children with HIV in the world live in
the region, which has 11.4 million orphans because of AIDS, the report said, and
1.5 million people there died of the disease in 2007.
Source: Pope visits Africa, reaffirms ban on condoms - CNN.com (external - login to view)