Monday, December 05, 2011

Human AIDS ribbon to form at UST

Human AIDS ribbon to form at UST
By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 4, 2011

A giant human “AIDS Ribbon” will take shape at the University of Santo Tomas parade ground in Manila today (Sunday) as part of the observance of National AIDS by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Archdiocese of Manila.

Representatives of HIV-positive communities, families and civil society will form the AIDS ribbon at the UST grandstand at 7:30 a.m., according to a CBCP statement.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, bishop-advisor of the Philippine Catholic HIV & AIDS Network (PhilCHAN), said the symbolic human AIDS ribbon aims to raise awareness to the circumstances of people living with HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

“Respecting the sacredness of life also means acceptance without bias of those who are already living with this virus. Their life too is valuable and sacred. They too deserve a dignified life with the help of all,” he said.

The Philippines is one of seven countries in the world with steadily increasing cases of HIV/AIDS.

A total of 7,884 cases have been reported in the Philippines since 1984. Of these, 1,416 were registered from January to August this year. An alarming 30 percent of this year’s HIV/AIDS cases belong to the 15-24 age group and 55 percent are from the National Capital Region.

Pabillo called on the youth and their families to support National AIDS Sunday by wearing red, which means courage to battle the stigma.

“National Aids Sunday aims to make all of us aware of the serious menace of HIV/AIDS. This menace can only be averted if we appreciate the gift of life and love that the Lord gives us and live respecting the sacredness of life and sex,” said Pabillo, who is also the director of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace.

Set to attend the activity are members of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Business for Social Progress.

The CBCP had earlier declared every first Sunday of December as National AIDS Sunday. The decision came with the release of the 2011 Pastoral Letter on AIDS entitled “Who is my neighbor?” which calls on every Christian to reach out to members of families and society who may be at risk of the virus and offer them compassionate understanding and the support they need.