Pope rejects condom use in Africa
Pope Benedict XVI has said that handing out condoms is not the answer in the fight against HIV/Aids, as he makes his first visit to Africa as pontiff.
Speaking en route to Cameroon, he said distribution of condoms "increases the problem". The Vatican urges abstinence.
The Pope will also visit Angola on his week-long trip, where thousands are expected to attend open-air masses.
According to Vatican figures, the number of Catholics in Africa has been rising steadily in recent years.
Baptised Catholics made up 17% of the African population in 2006, compared with 12% in 1978, the Vatican says.
“ HIV/Aids is a tragedy that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem ”
Pope Benedict said on the eve of his trip that he wanted to wrap his arms around the entire continent, with "its painful wounds, its enormous potential and hopes".
Before arriving in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, the Pope said HIV/Aids was "a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem".
The solution lies in a "spiritual and human awakening" and "friendship for those who suffer", the AFP news agency quotes him as saying.
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