Appeal for free treatment to AIDS' patients

Benedict XVI’s secretary of state called today for access to free treatment for AIDS, as he gave the opening address at the 8th International AIDS Conference.

The event, being held at the San Gallicano Institute in Rome, has the theme “Long live mothers and children.”

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone made a strong appeal for international cooperation to assist AIDS patients. “In the presence of so many authoritative ministers and persons in charge of health care, I would like to address an appeal to the international community, to states and to donors,” he said. “Let us provide soon to AIDS patients free and effective treatment! May universal access to treatment be agreed! Let us do so beginning with the mothers and children. In this See, in the name of the Holy Father, I make myself the voice of the many who are suffering, of so many patients who do not have a voice. Let us not waste time and invest all the resources necessary!”

Citing programs sponsored by the World Health Organization and the Catholic Community of Sant’Egidio, the cardinal said studies confirm that “universal access to treatments is attainable, scientifically proved and economically possible. It’s not a utopia: it is possible!”

He called it a duty to reach every pregnant woman with the virus and provide her the therapies to prevent her child from being infected.