|World AIDS Day: Pope highlights problem of poverty in fighting HIV|
Catholic News Service photo
A nurse uses a syringe to give liquid medicine to a young HIV patient at San Jose Hospice in Sacatepequez, Guatemala.
Catholic News ServiceVATICAN CITY — In a special appeal against HIV and AIDS, Pope Benedict called for special attention to those unable to afford life-saving drugs, especially pregnant and nursing women affected by the disease.
The pope, speaking before World AIDS Day Dec. 1, said his thoughts and prayers were with "the great number of children who contract the virus every year from their own mothers, despite the fact there are therapies for preventing it."
AIDS has caused "millions of deaths and tragic human suffering, most markedly in poorer regions of the world, which have great difficulty in getting access to effective drugs," he said Nov. 28.
The pope encouraged the many initiatives the church supports aimed at "eradicating this scourge."
The Vatican has estimated Catholic agencies provide about 25 percent of all HIV treatment and care throughout the world. The World Health Organization has estimated that perhaps as much as 70 percent of all health care in Africa is provided by faith-based organizations.