The Pope Talks Condoms


The relationship between condom promotion and the church has always been strained. Last year Pope Benedict XVI's anti condom remarks that condoms may actually be making the HIV/AIDS crisis worse while on his visit to Africa, were received quite poorly by comprehensive sex education proponents and those dedicated to condom promotion, particularly in regards to curbing HIV/AIDS infection rates. In May, De Condoomfabriek or The Condom Factory, a retailer in Holland created a papal themed condom as a way of speaking against Vatican sentiments. The condom featured an image with striking similarities to Pope Benedict, with the words "I SAID NO! We say YES!" featured in the packaging.

Recent papal comments from the new book, "Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times." based on interviews by journalist Peter Seewald indicate that condoms can be justified in cases of male prostitution in order to prevent HIV/AIDS infection. While his comments go on to describe condoms as not a "moral solution" the justification of any use of condoms is a huge milestone for many.

To read more about the Pope's recent comments:,0,3715875.story

In South Africa where HIV/AIDS has had a devastating impact, condom education is everywhere, featured in billboards, commercials, soap operas and pornographic films. After years of President Thabo Mbeki's AIDS denial and misinformation, current President Zuma has emphasized sex education and condom distribution. During the World Cup it was feared sex workers would be drawn to the male sports fans with the possibility of surges in HIV/AIDS infection. While recent studies have released data that approximately 99% of sex workers used condoms during this event, they also learned about the stigma associated with many of the condoms distributed by the government. Government distributed condoms are said to smell, be too powdery and not large enough for use. Many who do not have confidence in the South African government have concerns about using these government distributed condoms. To learn more: