Pope Benedict has, for the first time, endorsed the use of condoms to prevent the spread of infection, the Boston Herald reported.

In comments published in a book by a German journalist, Benedict said that condoms could be justified for male prostitutes for whom contraception isn't an issue.

While the pope added that condoms – even in the case of gay HIV+ prostitutes – are not a moral solution, Catholic activists worry that he has put the church's long-standing opposition to condom use – and contraception – in peril.

“The pope has suddenly created an exception,” Peter Borre told the paper. “So the question is going to come up: What about an exception for abortion, an exception on homosexuality.”

“There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility,” Benedict said.

It's a “first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way of living sexuality,” he added.

The Holly Father drew loud protests last year when he said that Africa's HIV epidemic could not be resolved with condoms.

“On the contrary, it increases the problem,” he said.