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HIV spike causes alarm

Archbishop Tagle urges effective Church response

  • ucanews.com reporter, Manila
  • Philippines
  • August 15, 2012
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Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila has called for greater awareness among Catholic Religious and laypeople about HIV/AIDS and its impact on the country.

In a circular issued today, the prelate cited a need to learn more about the virus so the local Church can form a more "effective and appropriate pastoral response to the silent epidemic."

A Pastoral Letter on AIDS issued last year by the bishops' conference said Church workers, seminarians and the clergy must be equipped with basic knowledge of the disease "to bring hope, healing and reconciliation to those vulnerable."

Archbishop Tagle noted that nine new cases of HIV infections are reported daily in the country, 52 percent of which are in Metro Manila. He said that while the global trend is decreasing, the number of HIV cases is rising in the Philippines.

"What is alarming is that the 20 to 29 year-old age group has had the most number of cases," he said.

The Department of Health earlier reported that the number of HIV/AIDS cases recorded by the department for the year has surpassed the number in 2010.

Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said that for June 2012, the Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry had recorded 295 new cases of HIV, including 16 AIDS cases. This brought to 1,600 the number of cases this year.

"This is one of the highest monthly new HIV cases in the country. We are in the second half of the year and we already have more than the 1,591 cases for the whole year of 2010," Tayag said in a report by the Philippine Star.

In 2011, 2,349 cases were recorded.

The Archdiocese of Manila, meanwhile, announced that it has scheduled two separate workshop sessions on HIV/ AIDS, one for two days for priests and Religious, and another for a day with seminarians and laypeople later this month.

The workshops will be conducted by Msgr. Robert Vitillo, special adviser on HIV and AIDS for Caritas Internationalis, and head of the International Delegation to the UN in Geneva.

Archbishop Tagle urged attendance at the workshop to “help the Archdiocese mainstream HIV in all existing ministries and protect families, especially our young people, from the virus which until now has no cure.”

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