Pope says Africans with AIDS need moral, spiritual, medical help
With millions of Africans suffering from diseases like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, the continent desperately needs good Samaritans to bring moral, spiritual and medical help, Pope John Paul II said.
In his annual message for next February's World Day of the Sick, the Holy Father said this week that in its efforts to curb the spread of AIDS, the church is right to stress education against "irresponsible sexual behavior" as a means of prevention.
The pope's message was published yesterday at the Vatican. The African country of Cameroon will host next year's World Day of the Sick, celebrated on 11 February.
The pope said a great deal of Africa's suffering could be traced to inadequate health care facilities. Diseases are devastating Africa, he said, citing in particular the "scourge of AIDS, which is spreading pain and death" throughout the continent.
The many African conflicts and wars aggravate the situation, because medicines and other health recourses often cannot reach those in need, he said. "In refugee camps lie people often deprived of even the indispensable provisions needed for survival," he said.
The pope said that in the eyes of the church, AIDS represents not only a health problem but also a "pathology of the spirit" that attacks the whole person.
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30 Sep 2004