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UN AGENCY TACKLING HIV/AIDS WELCOMES POPE’S COMMENTS ON CONDOM USE

By UN
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22 November - The United Nations agency leading the global response to the AIDS epidemic has welcomed Pope Benedict XVI's comments in which he reportedly justified the use of condoms to reduce HIV infection risk.

The Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibé, praised the “significant and positive step forward” taken by the Vatican, saying it would help accelerate progress towards eradicating the virus.

“This move recognizes that responsible sexual behaviour and the use of condoms have important roles in HIV prevention,” he stated in a news release issued on Saturday.

UNAIDS supports the use of all proven HIV prevention methods in pursuit of its goal of wiping out the 7,000 new HIV infections that occur each day.

The single most efficient available technology to reduce transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections is the male latex condom, according to UNAIDS.

The agency has been working closely with the Vatican, with Mr. Sidibé holding far-reaching talks with Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski on HIV prevention in 2009.

“Together we can build a world with zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths,” said the Executive Director.