VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis has marked World AIDS Day at the Vatican.
He asked pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square on Sunday to pray for those who were sick, as well as the doctors and researchers working on HIV/AIDS.
Francis urged the faithful to pray so that "each sick person, nobody excluded, may access the therapy they need."
The Vatican came under fire in the past for saying the best way to prevent the spread of HIV is abstinence, instead of the use of condoms. But Pope Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, received praise from the lead UN agency on HIV/AIDS for comments he made in 2010, which appeared to justify the use of condoms in certain circumstances to prevent the transmission of HIV.
According to UNAIDS, 35.3 million people around the world are living with HIV, and only 9.7 million of them have access to treatment.
234-r-19-(Sound of Pope Francis, in Italian, offering prayers for those who suffer from HIV/AIDS, especially children, on World Aids Day)--Sound of Pope Francis, in Italian, offering prayers for those who suffer from HIV/AIDS, especially children, on World AIDS Day, (1 Dec 2013)
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