VATICAN, November 24, 2004 ( – In a message for World AIDS Day, which will be observed December 1, the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care called for lower prices for anti-viral drugs, and educational campaigns to help mothers avoid infecting their children with the HIV virus.

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan cited UN data showing that 22 million people have died of AIDS since the original outbreak of the epidemic, and 42 million people today are living with the HIV virus. He also pointed out that more than one-fourth of the medical facilities treating AIDS patients are run by the Catholic Church.

The Vatican statement noted the UN “has dedicated this year to women, to girls and HIV/AIDS, because of their greater vulnerability, compared to men, to contracting the HIV/AIDS virus. A study has demonstrated that they are infected 2.5 more times than men”.  See the complete statement at   See related report African AIDS Doctor Says USAID Finally Allowing Funds to be Used for Food, Health Care and Abstinence