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Rome Reports

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Pope urges action ahead of World AIDS Day

That’s about 400 thousand less infections during 2008. The WHO attributes the decrease to prevention and education programs, but admits those efforts are not a one size fits all approach.In fact, there are now 33.5 million people infected with AIDS world-wide, the largest number ever. The WHO says most likely this is because AIDS patients are living longer. One day before World Aids Day, the Pope called for concrete action to help those affected. Benedict XVI believes by multiplying efforts the deadly disease can come to a halt. One of the main Catholic organizations at the forefront on the battle against AIDS is John Paul II?s, Good Samaritan Foundation. ;Archbishop Zygmunt ZimowskiPresident Good Samaritan Foundation"It was born a year before his death. You could say that it’s ; a testament ; John Paul II left us to help people in need.”The foundation was born to help those who are sick and lack resources, especially those affected by AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. All of the diseases related with HIV. The contributions the foundation receives are sent to the diocese in 25 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.The money is used for two types of projects. First ; to train young people and then to accompany patients and their families. For example in programs directed at orphans with AIDS. In fact, in 2008, 50,000 mothers died of AIDS in Africa.Money is also used to improve infrastructure and public access to diagnostics and therapy.Archbishop Zygmunt ZimowskiPresident Good Samaritan Foundation“The sick need closeness. The Church does everything to be truly a Good Samaritan, to help our brothers and sisters who need us so much”.In addition to monetary contributions, the Foundation asks pharmaceutical companies to facilitate access to drugs.According to UNAIDS, new drugs have saved 3 million people since 1996 and prevented the spread to about 200 thousand children since 2001.MC/PVBFF-LB-WP -