Pope Benedict XVI said on his way to Africa Tuesday that condoms were not the answer in the continent's fight against HIV, his first explicit statement on an issue that has divided even clergy working with AIDS patients.
Benedict arrived in Yaounde, Cameroon's capital, Tuesday afternoon to a crowd of flag-waving faithful and snapping cameras. The visit is his first pilgrimage as pontiff to the African continent.
Benedict had never directly addressed condom use, though his position is not new. His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, often said that sexual abstinence — not condoms — was the best way to prevent the spread of the disease.
Benedict said that the Roman Catholic Church is in the forefront of the battle against AIDS.