Holy See Sets Up Foundation for HIV/AIDS Patients

Programs Include Focus on Chastity and Abstinence

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ROME, JULY 29, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See announced the establishment of a foundation to assist HIV/AIDS patients, especially those living in Africa.

The Good Samaritan Foundation will be part of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers.

«Its purpose will be to assist the sick all over the world, especially those with HIV/AIDS, as well as to prevent the spread of the virus,» said Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the pontifical council.

In statements published by the Vatican agency Fides, the cardinal explained that the «aim is to identify the most urgent needs in the fight against AIDS in order to distribute resources where they are needed in Africa or elsewhere in the world. The foundation will be open to anyone anxious to help people on the continent of Africa.»

«Precise duties and detailed orders will be given to fulfill the mission to meet the necessities of the poorest, most affected and most needy countries and people suffering from HIV/AIDS,» the cardinal said.

«Besides caring for the sick,» he added, «we also aim to prevent the disease by promoting Catholic ideals with regard to the prevention of AIDS and accompaniment of the sick. Prevention and education in the Christian values of faithfulness in marriage, chastity and abstinence, [and] special attention to prevent mother/child transmission of HIV/AIDS, will be the main fields of activity for the Good Samaritan Foundation.»

Cardinal Lozano Barragán announced the project Tuesday during a videoconference in the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, in which the American government asked for the aid of Catholic organizations in the struggle against AIDS in the world.

The cardinal warned that «in the struggle against HIV/AIDS there are still too many words and too few facts. In fact the first thing to do is to monitor the real needs of people in countries all over Africa where anti-retroviral are not available.»

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