In Pope John Paul II’s Message for the World Day of the Sick to take place on February II, 2005, the theme of which is "Christ, hope for Africa," he affirms that the only way to fight AIDS responsibly is through the true education of sexuality and the practice of the virtue of chastity.
In the message, dated September 8 and published today, the Pope laments that conflicts and wars in Africa "make intervention to prevent and cure the diseases that devastate the continent very difficult."
"I encourage those who are able to dedicate themselves to stopping these tragedies. I remind those responsible for selling arms of what I have written: 'Those who perpetuate the wars in Africa through arms trafficking are accomplices to hateful crimes against humanity'," he says
The Pope states that "in order to fight [AIDS] in a responsible way, prevention must be increased through education on life issues and the proper view of sexuality." STD’s can be prevented "especially through responsible behavior and the observance of the virtue of chastity," he says.
The Pope reminds governments and authorities of their duty to provide accurate information and adequate education concerning sexually transmitted diseases.
He praises "pharmaceutical industries that are committed to keeping the cost of drugs low," and recalls "with admiration the numerous health care workers, religious helpers and volunteers, who, like good Samaritans, spend their lives caring for AIDS victims and their families."
"The celebration of the World Day of the Sick," he writes, "offers us all the possibility to understand better the importance of pastoral health care. ... It is precisely in the moment of illness that one urgently needs to find appropriate answers to the deepest questions regarding man's life: questions on the meaning of pain, suffering and death, considered not only as a mystery which must be confronted with strength but as a mystery in which Christ incorporates our life to Him."
The main celebration of the World Day of the Sick will take place at the Shrine of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles in Yaounde, Cameroon.