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CBCP, BGHMC  lead multi -sectoral HIV/AIDS awareness advocacy

BAGUIO CITY (PIA) - - The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines(CBCP together with the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center and other public – private partners, commemorated  the lives lost due to AIDS and in pushing for the rights of people living with HIV (PLHIV) to live as  normal members of the community.

CBCP Executive Secretary and Camilian HIV/AIDS Ministry Director Rev. Fr. Dan Vicente Cancino Jr. with the BGHMC HIV/AIDS Core Team headed by Dr. Bernard Demot led the observance of International AIDS Candlelight Memorial with a mass and an advocacy program with lighting and offering of candles on Monday (May 29).

Held at the Saint Louis School Center Inc., the HIV/AIDS advocacy event was attended by representatives of faith – based organizations, academe, sector, local government offices, private sector organization and HIV positive community and their loved ones.

Fr. Dan Cancino with two Camillian priests officiate a mass for the observance of International AIDS Candlelight Memorial. (CCD/PIA CAR)

Cancino also   emphasized that one’s life is far more important than his/her sin. He also reminded that despite the fact that all present during the advocacy are from different walks of life, they gathered for one purpose  which is to walk side – by – side on this beautiful journey of life.

Demot bared  that HIV/AIDS remains to be a major health concern with the  Department of Health recording 55 new cases per day. He explained  that though there is no cure yet for HIV/AIDS, PLHIV can live a normal life with proper and regular anti – retroviral treatment. But stigma and discrimination hamper other PLHIV to do so.

Fr. Cancino outlined that the 2023 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial theme, “Spread Love and Solidarity to Build Stronger Communities”, highlights  the significant challenges that PLHIV face due to persistent stigma and discrimination leading to feeling of shame and self – doubt and isolation, and  preventing them  from seeking  care and support they need.

By addressing both stigma and self – stigma, we can help stop the perpetual negative language around HIV transmission, burst myths and misinformation about life with HIV, and HIV stigma and discrimination that have long been a barrier to effective HIV prevention and treatment, he  added.

A tapestry with names and phrases of people who died of HIV/AIDS unfolded and narrated during the program. (CCD/PIA CAR)

He   shared  that  BGHMC  has recorded 978 HIV/AIDS cases from 1984  to  present. Most cases (475) belong to the  26-34 years old  age bracket, followed by  the  15 – 24 years old bracket  with 271 and 35 to 49 years old with 189.

During the event, a PLHIV shared the hardship of getting the HIV infection and his renewed life with the regular anti – retroviral treatment and with the  support of family and friends. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)

The HIV/AIDS Advocacy participants offering candles. (CCD/PIA CAR)

About the Author

Carlito Dar


Cordillera Administrative Region

Information Officer II at PIA Cordillera

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