Pope says AIDS mainly an ethical problem

African road map

Benedict signed the apostolic exhortation called “The Pledge for Africa” during a visit to the West African nation of Benin, his second trip to the continent as pontiff. The document says AIDS requires a medical response, but is mainly an ethical problem. Changes in behaviour are required to combat the disease, including sexual abstinence and rejection of promiscuity, it adds.

“The problem of AIDS in particular clearly calls for a medical and a pharmaceutical response,” it says. “This is not enough however. The problem goes deeper. Above all, it is an ethical problem.”

The Catholic Church’s position on AIDS and the use of condoms has long been controversial and carefully scrutinised, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, home to nearly 70 percent of the world’s HIV cases.

The pope’s comments on his first African trip to Cameroon and Angola in 2009 caused a global outcry when he suggested condom distribution aggravated the AIDS problem.
He has since seemed to ease that stance, saying in a book published last year that condom use is acceptable “in certain cases,” notably to reduce the risk of HIV infection.

The 135-page document he signed on Saturday was a summary of the conclusions of a 2009 synod of African bishops and includes peace, reconciliation and justice as its main message.

It condemns abuses against women and children, while issuing a call for good governance.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)