Pope Benedict XVI has condemned discrimination against sufferers of the AIDS virus in his weekly Sunday Angelus blessing in Saint Peter's Square.
His comments come ahead of World AIDS Day on 1 December which is being held to raise awareness of the pandemic.
"I very much hope this circumstance will foster ... commitment to avoid all discrimination against those touched," said the Pope.
The Pope is currently considering whether the use of condoms could be justified as part of an AIDS prevention strategy after a report commissioned by the Vatican and released last week recommended a limited use of condoms in such circumstances.
Until now the Church has taught that fidelity within a heterosexual marriage, chastity and abstinence are the most effective ways of halting the spread of AIDS.
The release of the report by Cardinal Lozano Barragan coincided with a United Nations report which revealed HIV infections were on the rise in all regions and that nearly 40 million adults and children are infected worldwide.
Christian Aid welcomed the Vatican's re-think on condoms.
Rachel Baggaley, head of HIV at Christian Aid: "It would be wonderful if the Vatican could support condom use to prevent HIV. Not only would this prevent the shame and guilt felt by some people but countless HIV transmissions could be avoided."
Pope Condemns AIDS Discrimination Ahead of World AIDS Day
The Pope has condemned discrimination against AIDS victims ahead of World AIDS Day on 1 December.
Published 27 November 2006 | Maria Mackay