Pope Benedict XVI says the use of condoms is acceptable in exceptional circumstances, according to a new book.
The teaching of the Roman Catholic Church is that the use of condoms is sinful because they are a form of artificial contraception.
But in a series of interviews with German Catholic journalist Peter Seewald earlier this year, the Pope said the use of a condom could be justified for a prostitute because of the intention to reduce the risk of HIV infection.
This would be an act of moral responsibility, the Pope said, a first step towards a more moral and a less demeaning attitude towards human sexuality, the BBC reports.
However, the Pope went on to say that the use of a condom was not the right and true way to combat HIV infection, but that a more humane attitude to sexuality was the answer.
The Church's hardline stance over contraception has led to the Vatican being heavily criticised for its position in the context of the Aids crisis.
Pope Benedict's comments were made in the book Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times.