Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009

Pope condemns condoms: Your views

The Pope meets an imam in Yaounde
The Pope believes abstinence, not condoms, is the answer to HIV/AIDS
Pope Benedict XVI is making his first papal visit to Africa - the continent worst hit by HIV/Aids.

He has said that handing out condoms is not the answer and instead preaches marital fidelity and abstinence.

Readers of the BBC News website have been sending in their views.

Below are some of your comments:

Only a mad man will tell me condom use is not the best for Africa considering the HIV rate and the fact that abstinence will always fail. Catholic beliefs and traditions are not appropriate for our continent now!!! Che, Ghana

By preaching a narrow and prejudiced point of view promoting abstinence he is merely instilling guilt an fomenting denial and stigma, which have permitted the acceleration and free spreading of the disease. Libre, Jo'burg, South Africa

The Ugandan experience proves that what the Pope says is 100% correct. As the only country to have brought down the number of Aids cases - and radically so, it was also the only country promoting ABSTINENCE instead of condoms. Yet their story seems to be intentionally ignored in the media, while international agencies persist in forcing a condom policy of the country. With two thousand years of experience in the Church, the Pope may just know what he is talking about. David, Cape Town, South Africa

As a Peace Corps volunteer who has worked in a rural Zambian village for the past two years doing HIV education and prevention, I have found that Catholicism has drastically hurt, not helped Africa in the area of HIV/AIDS. Catholicism has not only instilled a fear of condoms in people, but has given people a false sense of safety by preaching being faithful (a practice that goes against many African traditions) and unrealistic (by telling married, mature people to abstain from sex). I have found the Church to be the biggest obstacle in helping mitigate the disease. I cannot say I am surprised by the Pope's comments this week, only deeply disappointed and hope he some day realizes how unrealistic and out of date his views on the issue of HIV are. Aleta, Nkumbi, Zambia

I agree with the Pope - oddly enough, with a sexually transmitted disease, the best way of stopping it's spread, is to NOT HAVE SEX! It is fairly simple logic that has worked since the dawn of time. I, a Christian, never plan to have sex outside of marriage - and unless I start using dirty needles, I will never contract HIV, due to simple biological impossibility. Whilst as condoms can slow down the spread of the disease, they cannot stop it, because no protection is 100% - simple Christian values work, oddly enough... I wonder why. David, Switzerland

Massive unemployment rates make it far easier for people to engage in escapist practices; popular amongst which is of course sex.... We all know abstinence will be more effective BUT we also know that people will not stop having sex no matter how imminent the threat.... As far as I'm concerned, so far as the Catholic Church's policy on condoms is concerned, Catholicism cannot help Africa. Carter, Accra, Ghana

Mr Pope, this is outrageous. Condom use is the only sustainable alternative people in Africa have to survive. Kajani, Virginia

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Pope's condom stance sparks row
18 Mar 09 |  Europe

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