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Pope Francis Calls for ‘Responsible Behavior’ to Stop AIDS

On the eve of the World AIDS Day, Pope Francis urged people to adopt “responsible behavior” to halt the proliferation of the disease.

Noting that Thursday, December 1, is World AIDS Day, Francis invited those present for his General Audience Wednesday to pray for the millions of people affected by AIDS, and urged that “all adopt responsible behavior to prevent a further spread of this disease.”

Being a sexually communicable disease especially prevalent among homosexuals, HIV AIDS has a much higher correlation to personal behavioral choices than other lethal illnesses.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM)” are far more likely to contract the disease than other members of the population.

While “MSM represent approximately 2% of the U.S. population,” CDC noted, “in 2013, MSM accounted for 67% of all new HIV diagnoses.”

“Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV” and “most gay and bisexual men acquire HIV through having anal sex with an HIV-positive person,” the Center found.

The CDC also stated that more than 50 percent of all persons living with HIV infection were men who have sex with men, despite representing a tiny percentage of the population.

Of these MSM, “an estimated 84% received a diagnosis of HIV, 38% were in HIV medical care, antiretroviral therapy was prescribed for 35%, and 30% achieved viral suppression,” the CDC said.

If current diagnosis rates continue, CDC noted, “1 in 6 gay and bisexual men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.”

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