Free AIDS Drugs

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, called for free universal access to AIDS drugs and therapy and insisted this begin by giving antiretroviral drugs to H.I.V.-positive pregnant women. “We cannot continue to tolerate the deaths of so many mothers; we cannot think of thousands of babies as a lost generation,” said Cardinal Bertone on June 22, speaking at a conference in Rome on preventing mother-to-child transmission of H.I.V., sponsored by the lay Community of Sant’Egidio. The community runs Dream, a free AIDS prevention and treatment project operating in 10 African nations. Cardinal 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.” According to Sant’Egidio, 60 percent of those living with H.I.V.-AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa in 2010 were women, and AIDS was the leading cause of death in women of childbearing age.

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