Vatican Lists Its Reservations Over AIDS Declaration

Following Summit at United Nations

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 3, 2001 ( The Vatican said the recent U.N. summit on AIDS failed to give sufficient emphasis to the possibility of people protecting themselves from the irresponsible behavior of others.

In an «Interpretative Declaration,» the Vatican commented on the summit´s own final document, and reaffirmed the reservations and positions that the Holy See has expressed at earlier U.N. conferences and summits.

The Vatican, for example, reiterated that the surest method to prevent the sexual transmission of the HIV virus is abstinence before marriage, and respect and fidelity during marriage.

And while the Vatican emphasized the Church´s support for U.N. efforts to help AIDS victims, it said, «Nothing of what the Holy See did during the discussions that led to the adoption of the Declaration of Commitments on HIV/AIDS must be understood or interpreted as an approval of concepts that it cannot uphold for moral reasons.»

In regard to terms such as «sexual health,» «reproductive health» and «sexual-reproductive health,» the Holy See considers them applicable in a global concept of health «which embraces the person in the totality of his/her personality, mind and body, and promotes the attainment of personal maturity in sexuality and reciprocal love, in making decisions that characterize the conjugal relation in keeping with moral norms.»

The Holy See emphasizes that it has not changed its opposition to condoms as a means of preventing AIDS.

The Vatican´s explanatory declaration, which it asked to be included in the minutes of the summit, also expressed the Church´s concern over the summit´s failure to give sufficient importance to the relation between the promotion and protection of human rights, based on the recognition of human dignity.

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