He went on to reinforce the Church's position that fidelity, chastity and abstinence are the best defence against AIDS.
Reuters reports that in light of World AIDS Day on Saturday, the Pope appealed to the world to treat victims with compassion rather than distain.
He has also urged “all people of goodwill” to step up efforts to stop the spread of HIV, but has reiterated the Church's opposition to using condoms saying the promotion of them would foster “immoral and hedonistic behaviour”.
"I am spiritually close to those who suffer from this terrible sickness as well as to their families, particularly if they have lost a loved one. I assure them all of my prayers," the Pope said.
“We need to oppose the scorn that often strikes those affected and to take care of the sick, especially the children”.
According to the latest UN figures, more than 33 million people are infected with the AIDS virus. Some 2.1 million people died of AIDS in 2007, including 1.7 million adults and 330,000 children.
Don't treat AIDS victims with disdain, Pope says (Reuters, 28/11/07)
Pope urges every effort to stop the spreading of AIDS and the “scorn” of those who suffer from it (AsiaNews, 28/11/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Benedict's AIDS stance pleases UN (CathNews, 21/12/06)
Catholic Mission announces AIDS Day appeal (CathNews, 15/11/06)
Anti-condom stance fuels AIDS spread: UN (CathNews, 24/10/07)
Vatican set to OK condoms for disease prevention (CathNews, 26/04/06)
Kenyan archbishop warns condoms will not prevent AIDS (CathNews, 05/08/03)
Cardinal says condoms ban due to implied sexual immorality (CathNews, 25/01/05)
Jesuit says Vatican condom concession would be nothing new (CathNews, 04/05/06)
WYD Vatican condom rethink could save millions, says Catholic AIDS activist (CathNews, 24/11/06)