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Vatican Official Calls on International Community to Provide "Free, Efficient" HIV Treatment in Africa

June 25, 2012

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state and number two official, "called Friday on the international community to provide 'free and efficient treatment' for AIDS in Africa, starting with pregnant women, mothers and their babies," Agence France-Presse reports (6/22). During a conference sponsored by the Sant'Egidio Community, which operates the DREAM program (Drug Resource Enhancement against AIDS and Malnutrition) in 10 African countries, "Bertone said the results of DREAM and research by the World Health Organization 'confirm that universal access to care is achievable, scientifically proven and economically feasible,'" the Catholic News Service writes.

"In Africa, he said, there is no way to provide universal access to the drug therapy without making it free of charge, so governments, international organizations, donors and pharmaceutical companies will have to work together to provide the drugs," CNS adds. "Let universal access to health care be agreed on. Let us begin with mothers and children. In the name of the Holy Father, I speak for all those sick people who do not have a voice. Let us not waste time; let's invest the necessary resources," Bertone said, according to the news service (Wooden, 6/22).

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