Associated Press, September 30, 2004
Pope Again Stresses Chastity
to Fight AIDS' Spread; praises drug-makers
who keep AIDS medicines at low cost
DATELINE: VATICAN CITY -- Pope John Paul II reiterated
Wednesday the church's teaching that abstinence
is the best way to stop the sexual spread of
AIDS and praised drug manufacturers who are
keeping down the prices of medicines for AIDS
The Catholic Church has repeatedly rebuffed campaigns
for it to endorse the use of condoms in the
fight against AIDS. The Vatican holds that
condoms, because they are a form of artificial
birth control, cannot be used to help prevent
the spread of the disease.
In a written message for the Church's World Day
of the Sick, the pope described AIDS as "a
pathology of the spirit" as well as a
"To fight it in a responsible day, we need
to increase prevention through education about
respect of the sacred value of life and through
formation of the correct practice of sexuality,"
the pontiff said.
Cases of AIDS spread via sex, John Paul said,
"are best avoided above all through responsible
conduct and the observance of the virtue of
A Vatican cardinal last year made headlines when
he said condoms don't prevent AIDS and that
using them might create a false sense of security.
A few months later another leading cardinal
said that if an HIV-positive person insists
on having sex, he would be committing a sin
if he doesn't use a condom.
The Day of the Sick is scheduled for February
in Cameroon. AIDS has inflicted a heavy toll
Activists have long been lobbying so that life-prolonging
AIDS medicine, which affluent patients have
been able to obtain, be made affordable for
poor patients, and recent years have seen some
drug companies make medicines available at
low cost in Africa.
"Heartfelt applause is due the pharmaceutical
industries which have committed themselves
to keeping at low costs medicines useful in
AIDS therapy," the pope said.
"Certainly, you need economic resources
for scientific research in the health field
and other resources are also necessary to market
the discovered drugs, but when faced with an
emergency like AIDS, safeguarding of human
life must come before any other form of consideration,"
the pontiff said.
<< Associated Press -- 9/30/04 >>
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