Catholic World News

Abstinence, fidelity remain best safeguards against HIV, archbishop reminds UN

June 13, 2016

During a UN discussion of the fight to curb the HIV-AIDS epidemic, the Vatican’s representative said that it is vital to “call attention to the undeniable fact that the only safe and completely reliable method of preventing sexual transmission of HIV is abstinence before marriage and respect and mutual fidelity within marriage.”

Archbishop Bernardito Auza said that the Catholic Church opposes fully supports all efforts to treat AIDS victims, and opposes bias against HIV-positive individuals. However, he underlined the importance of distinguishing “between policies that discriminate and stigmatize unjustly and those put in place to discourage risk-taking behaviors and to encourage responsible and healthy relationships, especially among youth.”

The archbishop called attention to a shortage of medicines—particularly “child-friendly” medicines—and diagnostic equipment for us in the fight against HIV in less developed countries. He lamented that “as many as 50% of HIV-positive children die before their 2nd birthday, because they do not have access to the necessary diagnosis, treatment, and medication.” Archbishop Auza said that Catholic health-care agencies are involved in initiatives to bring the supplies and assistance to areas currently in need.

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