In visits to Cameroon and Angola this week, Pope Benedict says that condoms could only make the HIV/AIDS crisis worse. The Vatican is pushing abstinence and monogamy to fight AIDS in Africa–rather than condom use–as did the Bush administration.
Twenty-two million people are living with HIV/AIDS in Africa. As reported by CNN, there is also a significant rise in converts to Catholicism. Therefore, the Pope’s comments are of critical importance to the millions of congregants on the continent.
Is this debate merely a question of the best route to HIV/AIDS prevention? What role does religion play in establishing governmental policies? How do the words of one man–granted, an important man–play in the individual decisions of others?