Catholic Church and HIV/AIDS
The Catholic Church is the largest private provider of care to HIV/AIDS patients in the world, but the Church's position on AIDS prevention is controversial because it is opposed to condom use. In relation to the sexual transmission of the disease, the Church teaches that sexual abstinence before marriage, and monogamy inside marriage, are a better means of limiting the spread of the epidemic than is the use of condoms. United Nations bodies have criticised the Church for its stance against condom use, on the basis that condoms are the best available means to prevent infections among sexually active people. UN bodies co-operate closely with the Church on the provision of patient care, and in eliminating infections in children. The Church provides approximately one quarter of all HIV treatment and care.Following the election of Pope Francis in 2013, UNAIDS wrote that the Church ""provides support to millions of people living with HIV around the world"" and that ""Statistics from the Vatican in 2012 indicate that Catholic Church-related organizations provide approximately a quarter of all HIV treatment, care, and support throughout the world and run more than 5,000 hospitals, 18,000 dispensaries, and 9,000 orphanages, many involved in AIDS-related activities."" UNAIDS co-operates closely with the Church on critical issues such as the elimination of new HIV infections in children, and keeping their mothers alive, as well as increasing access to antiretroviral medication. Caritas Internationalis is the Church's main international aid and development body, operating in over 200 countries and territories, and is among the strategic partners of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).Pope Paul VI issued the Humanae Vitae Encyclical Letter on the Regulation of Birth in 1968, which outlined opposition to ""artificial birth control"" on the basis that it would open a ""wide and easy a road... towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality"". The AIDS epidemic emerged from the 1980s. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI characterized condom use as not a ""real or moral solution"" to the spread of AIDS, but potentially a ""first step"" in the direction of moralization and responsibility, when used with ""the intention of reducing the risk of infection"". A 2014 report by The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child called on the Church to ""overcome all the barriers and taboos surrounding adolescent sexuality that hinder their access to sexual and reproductive information, including on family planning and contraceptives"".Globally, well over thirty million people have died from HIV/AIDS. The Church's condom ban was largely ignored in industrialised countries, in which public awareness campaigns encouraged condom use. The church's stance against condoms has been blamed for the prevalence of AIDS in Africa.