Press statement

UNAIDS welcomes Pope Benedict's support to HIV prevention

GENEVA, 20 November 2010—UNAIDS welcomes the reported statement of Pope Benedict XVI calling for “a humane way of living sexuality” and that the use of condoms are justified "in the intention of reducing the risk of HIV infection".

“This is a significant and positive step forward taken by the Vatican today,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. “This move recognizes that responsible sexual behaviour and the use of condoms have important roles in HIV prevention.” 

UNAIDS has worked closely with the Vatican, in 2009 Mr Sidibé held far-reaching discussions with Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski on HIV prevention issues including the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, protecting young people and reducing sexual violence against women and girls. “This will help accelerate the HIV prevention revolution, in promoting evidence-informed and human rights based approaches to achieve universal access goals towards HIV prevention, treatment, care and support,” said Mr Sidibé. “Together we can build a world with zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.”

With more than 7000 new HIV infections each day, UNAIDS advocates the use of a combination HIV prevention approach that utilizes all proven methods for HIV prevention including use of male and female condoms, choosing to have sex later, having fewer multiple partners, male circumcision, reducing stigma and discrimination, and the removal of punitive laws. The male latex condom is the single, most efficient, available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

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