Nine new cases of HIV infections are reported daily in the Philippines, and 52 percent of which are in Metro Manila. While the global trend is decreasing, the number of HIV cases in the Philippines is rising, as doubling time continues to shorten. Of the 9,669 reported cases from 1984 to May 2012, 5,245 cases (or 54 percent of total cases) were recorded between 2010 and 2012.
A Vatican official called on Filipino priests to play a more active role in HIV/AIDS education.
“Education continues to be the only effective vaccine to combat denial, ignorance, and prejudice which places people at risk of contracting HIV,” said Msgr. Robert Vitillo, special adviser on HIV and AIDS for Caritas Internationalis and head of the International Delegation to the UN in Geneva. He made the statement during a workshop on HIV/AIDS at the San Carlos Seminary,Makati City earlier this week with several priests from Metro Manila in attendance.
He added that World AIDS Day, observed on December 1 every year, also presents an opportunity to “preach about, pray in faith, and hope for increased solidarity in the human family to address all the factors contributing to the vulnerability of people to contract HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses.”
“World AIDS Day is at the beginning of Advent. Reflect on ‘waiting’ for care and compassion that are needed by so many people affected by HIV,” he said.
The priest also encouraged that AIDS information resources will be made available to parishioners.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle earlier said that there is a need to learn more about the disease so the local church can come up with an effective and appropriate pastoral response to the “silent epidemic.”