VATICAN CITY - In a special appeal against HIV and AIDS, Pope
Benedict XVI 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.