.- The President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health workers and the Sick said the stigma associated with AIDS victims should be banished from society, and he renewed the commitment of the Church in the struggle against the disease. In a message for the World AIDS Day, Cardinal Lozano said, “We must banish the stigma that so often makes society harsh in relation to the AIDS victim” and “dissipate the prejudices of those who fear the proximity of AIDS victims because they want to avoid contagion.”
The Cardinal recalled that “AIDS is only transmitted through the three routes of blood, the link between a mother and her unborn child, and contact,” and he emphasized that “these routes of transmission must be combated effectively and thereby eliminated. “ “As regards contact,” he said, “we should remember that contagion must be eliminated through responsible behavior and observance of the virtue of chastity.”
Cardinal Lozano said his dicastery sends this “message communicating the nearness and encouragement of the Church to all those who are fighting against this devastating pandemic, to those who care for and treat people afflicted by HIV/AIDS, and to these last, who are personally experiencing the mystery of human suffering.”
Likewise, he made a special reference to women and young people, to whom World AIDS Day is dedicated this year, “because of their greater vulnerability, compared to men, to contracting the HIV/AIDS virus, recalling that a “study has demonstrated that they are infected 2.5 more times than men.”
Cardinal Lozano went on to point out that “the impact of HIV/AIDS on women aggravates inequality and hinders progress towards the universality of rights. In addition, the more this infection advances amongst women, who are the columns of families and communities, the more the danger of social breakdown increases.”
“The Church has always defended women and their very great dignity with especial vigor and is struggling to fight those examples of discrimination which still today in a great deal of our society require greater efforts to secure the elimination of disparities in relation to women in such sectors as education, the defense of health, and work,” he added.