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 CNS Story:

LOZANO-AIDS Dec-16-2008 (250 words) xxxi

Vatican foundation solicits funds for AIDS drugs for worldwide use

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- "Light a star on the tree of life" by helping the Vatican provide antiretroviral drugs to people with AIDS in the world's poorest countries, said Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan.

The Mexican cardinal is president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, which oversees the Vatican's Good Samaritan Foundation and its efforts to provide AIDS drugs to Catholic health-care centers, mainly in Africa.

"We are a bridge. Anyone who sends us, say, 10 euros ($14), that 10 euros goes immediately to Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe or Zambia because we have innumerable requests to help AIDS patients who are dying," the cardinal told Vatican Radio Dec. 15.

So far in 2008, he said, the foundation had sent $119,000 to Vatican nuncios in Africa to purchase the antiretroviral drugs. From Christmas to the feast of the Epiphany, the foundation makes a special appeal for more funds, he said.

By collecting the funds at the Vatican and depositing them in the Vatican bank, Cardinal Lozano said, the foundation can transfer the funds quickly and directly to the nuncios in the countries where the need is greatest.

Catholic health-care providers make their requests for assistance through the nuncios, he said.

With just under $300, he said, the foundation can buy enough of the drugs to treat one patient in Africa for an entire year.

The foundation's e-mail address -- goodsamaritan@hlthwork.va -- can be used to request specific instructions on sending a check or transferring money to the fund.


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