Vatican: No. 2 urges free drugs, medical care for AIDS victims
last update: June 22, 12:49
Vatican City, 22 June (AKI) - The Vatican's second-in-command, Tarcisio Bertone has issued a call for governments around the world to give AIDS patients free drugs and medical care, starting with women and children.
"Let's give people who are sick with AIDS free and effective treatment, starting with the mothers and the children" Bertone told an international AIDS conference in Rome on Friday.
"I issue this appeal on behalf of the Holy Father and the many people who are suffering but cannot speak out. Let's invest all the necessary resources without delay," Bertone said.
The cardinal was speaking at the Eighth World AIDS Conference promoted by the Sant'Egidio Catholic aid organisation.
In the face of the global AIDS epidemic, Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 appeared to edge away from a total ban on condoms. In remarks in an interview bublished in a book he signalled he was prepared to consider the use of condoms in certain, limited circumstances.
HIV campaigners and many ordinary Catholics hailed the comments as a positive step forward but the Vatican warned they were not official teaching.
In 2009, Benedict prompted international uproar when he told journalists condoms should not be used because they could increase the spread of AIDS. In the book, he stood by his remark, but in more nuanced terms.
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