Society Should Not Reject, Discriminate Against People With HIV/AIDS, Other Infectious Diseases, Pope Benedict Says
Society should not reject people living with HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases nor be indifferent or prejudiced toward them, Pope Benedict XVI said on Friday at a conference on the pastoral care of people with infectious diseases, Reuters UK reports. The pope also called on society to respect the dignity of people living with infectious diseases. "Among the prejudices that hinder or limit efficient care for victims of infectious diseases is the attitude of indifference and even exclusion or rejection, which sometimes emerges in a rich society," he said, adding that the tendency of individuals to focus on themselves while other people are living with diseases is a "dangerous social trend." The pope also urged scientists and doctors to boost efforts to find cures for diseases, including HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, as well as ways to ease the suffering of those who are living with such diseases.
Vatican Position on Condoms
The pope at the conference did not mention the Roman Catholic Church's position on condom use and the spread of HIV, according to Reuters UK. Pope Benedict has commissioned two Vatican departments to conduct a study for possible use in a papal document on AIDS and condoms (Pullella, Reuters UK, 11/24). Kevin De Cock, director of the World Health Organization's HIV/AIDS Department, on Thursday urged the Vatican to speed its decision on the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. A report on opinions within the church on condom use has been compiled by Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, head of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, according to London's Guardian. The report, which is believed to sanction the use of condoms for married couples in which one partner is HIV-positive in endemic countries, has been sent to the pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, both of which must approve any changes (Boseley, Guardian, 11/24).