UNAIDS to Vatican: Pope's HIV-condom view helpful

By the Associated Press | May 28, 2011 | 6:15 AM EDT

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The head of the U.N. AIDS agency says Pope Benedict XVI's comments about the use of condoms in preventing HIV transmission had opened new prospects for dialogue with the U.N. about the best ways to fight AIDS.

Dr. Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told a Vatican conference Saturday on preventing HIV and caring for HIV-infected people that Benedict's views were important, even if differences remain between the U.N. and Catholic Church.

The UN says condoms should be an integral part of prevention programs; the Vatican opposes condoms as part of its overall opposition to artificial contraception. However, Benedict said last year that a male prostitute who uses a condom might be taking a first step toward greater responsibility.