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December 01, 2013

Pope Urges Catholics to Pray on World AIDS Day

Pope Francis has called on Catholics to pray for people suffering from HIV and AIDS during an address on World AIDS Day.

The pontiff told crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sunday to pray that every sick person has access to the care they need.

World AIDS Day has been held on December 1 every year since 1988.

HIV/AIDS campaigners say World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and governments that AIDS has not vanished.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

More than 25 million people have died globally from HIV/AIDS since 1981, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.



World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against the disease, show their support for people living with the disease, and to remember those who have died from the disease.

Campaigners say there is a "vital need" to raise money to find a cure, increase awareness, fight prejudice against those living with HIV/AIDS, and improve education to prevent the spread of the disease.