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Wednesday, December 1, 2004


VATICAN CITY, DEC 1, 2004 (VIS) - On the occasion of World AIDS Day, which is dedicated to women this year, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, wrote a message in which he says that AIDS "is one of the most devastating epidemics of our times; it is a human drama that is one of the greatest challenges in health care around the world due to its gravity and diffusion."

  The president of the council writes that since the first cases of AIDS were discovered in the 1980s, more than 22 million people have died due to the deadly disease and currently 42 million suffer from it.

  "I share the concern of the international community," he continues, "for the dramatic consequences of this disease on health, life conditions, perspectives, the statute and dignity of women and girls in many regions of the world.  The impact of HIV/AIDS on women aggravates inequality and impedes progress toward the universality of rights.  The more the disease spreads among women, who are the nucleus of the family and of communities, the greater the risk of social devastation."

  Cardinal Lozano recalls that John Paul II in his Message for the World Day of the Sick 2005 indicates that in order to fight the AIDS crisis "in a responsible way it is necessary to increase prevention through education with respect to the sacred value of life and the formation and correct practice of sexuality."

  Referring to possible ways of contracting AIDS, the cardinal emphasizes that "they must be fought effectively in order to be eliminated.  In terms of sexual contact, let's remember an increase in cases can be prevented through responsible conduct and the observance of the virtue of chastity."

  The president of the council concludes by highlighting some ways to fight AIDS with greater efficacy. Among them, he indicates "asking industrialized countries to help countries who need it in the campaign against AIDS, while avoiding every form of colonialism, and lowering the price of the necessary drugs as much as possible in order to cure those afflicted with AIDS."
.../WORLD DAY AIDS/LOZANO BARRAGAN                VIS 20041201 (370)

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