Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday called for intensified efforts to stop the spread of the HIV virus, saying he felt "spiritually close" to those suffering from AIDS.
"I am asking all people of goodwill to multiply efforts to stop the spread of the HIV virus, to oppose the scorn that often strikes those affected and to take care of the sick, especially the children," Benedict told his weekly public audience in connection with World AIDS Day, which was Saturday.
"I am spiritually close to those who suffer as a result of this terrible illness as well as to their families, in particular those struck by the loss of a close relative," the pope said. "I assure my prayers for all."
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