Saturday, May 26, 2007

Vatican Stresses Moral Values In Fighting AIDS

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, said yesterday during the 61st session of the UN General Assembly focused on the "Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS," that only by providing accurate information an respecting moral values, will AIDS be effectively controlled.

Reflecting on the fact that there are 39.5 million people presently living with HIV, with 2.9 million dying annually and 4 million new infections per year, Archbishop Migliore said that "the numbers speak for themselves, but they do not capture the whole story."

The Apostolic Nuncio said that $18 billion are needed in 2007 to help low- or middle-income countries fight HIV.

"In aggregate the numbers seem overwhelming, but taken in their proper context, person by person, they are really only a fraction of what we as a world community can and should do. All of us must clearly step up our efforts."

"That is why,” he added, “for its part, the Holy See seizes this occasion to re-affirm its commitment to intensify its response to this disease, through its ongoing support for a world-wide network of some 1,600 hospitals, 6,000 clinics, and 12,000 initiatives of a charitable and social nature in developing countries."

Archbishop Migliore explained: "My delegation believes that providing information and opportunities for an education respectful of naturally based values is essential both in the development of scientific advancement and for personal prevention."

In an apparent reference to the "safe sex" condom-based UN campaign, the Nuncio stressed that "there can be no excuse that, twenty-five years into this epidemic, all people in all countries still do not have sound, accurate and reliable information so as to educate themselves and live safer lives."

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