The Vatican has appeared to expand the Catholic Church's tolerance of condoms as a means of fighting HIV, backing their use by female prostitutes, days after the Pope said their use by male sex workers was better than spreading the virus.
Pope Benedict XVI was quoted at the weekend saying condom use by male prostitutes could be a good thing, indicating the user's intention to protect others from a deadly infection, apparently condoning the use of contraceptives for the first time.
The Vatican then confirmed that the same message applied to women sex workers. Related articles
Observers said the pontiff's message that condom use, and its inherent ability to prevent conception, was justifiable on health grounds, represented a seismic shift by the Church. This is a game-changer, said James Martin, a Jesuit priest
and culture editor of the religious magazine America.
A TV advertisement promoting condom use in Kenya has been withdrawn after an outcry by religious leaders, health official Peter Cherutich has said. He told the BBC the advert had been launched because up to 30% of married couples had other
In a BBC Focus on Africa interview, Dr Cherutich said that while the advert had been withdrawn, he was unapologetic about its message - that it was essential for people to use condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids.
In the government-sponsored advert, a woman in an extra-marital affair is advised to use condoms. Two women are walking to the market. One woman asked about her lover glances at a man selling fruit nearby, implying he is her lover. She says she
is happy with him, even though she does not spend much time with him. When asked if she uses a condom she looks embarrassed. The advert ends with the other woman advising her that it is important to use a condom to protect herself and her loved
ones including the school girl that runs towards the woman and hugs her.
Christian and Muslim clerics claimed the advert encouraged infidelity, rather than safe sex to curb HIV/Aids.
The Kenyan Anglican Church's Bishop Julius Kalu claimed the advert, shown on free-to-air TV stations at peak audience times, had promoted extra-marital affairs and sex among school pupils:
It openly propagates immorality, especially when all family members are gathered before television sets, waiting to watch news,
Kenya's Muslim religious body, the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), also condemned TV stations for showing the one-minute-long advert. Sheikh Mohammed Khalifa, CIPK's organising secretary, told Kenya's Business Daily newspaper:
The advertisement depicts this nation as Sodom and Gomorra and not one that values the institution of marriage and family.