By Jennifer Catan-Tilos
DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) — As number of cases of HIV-AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome ) increases in the region, religious organizations gathered to participate in the recent Pastoral HIV-AIDS Care, Counseling and Testing training in Cebu City.
Pro-Life Advocacy member Mary Francis Laquinon of St. Paul University Dumaguete (SPUD) said in their redemptive mission of Christ, the religious groups attended this four-day seminar to give hope and support spiritually the people living with the disease.
Laquinon said the activity equipped the participants with the basic skills on risk assessment and counseling before HIV testing and post-counseling test.
The panel of discussants presented the Republic Act 8504 protecting the people with HIV-AIDS and emphasized the issue of confidentiality.
“This has moved the participants to reach out to the people living with HIV and AIDS, giving them hope, compassion and support, for them to go on with their lives like anyone else in the society,” stressed Laquinon.
She also cited the PHILCHAN Faith-based A-B-C-D-E Advocacy against HIV- AIDS in which A stands for abstinence from sex, B stands for be mutually faithful, C for correct choice and conscience, D for do not use drugs and E for Education.
The participants committed to continue its advocacy on HIV/AIDS in line with the goal on zero stigma, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths.
It is said that religious organizations are important both as social organizations and sources of influence on people’s beliefs and behaviors, and therefore have an important role to play in providing care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
The training, spearheaded by the Department of Health (DOH) and made possible through the collaborative efforts of Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC), Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Health Care ( CPCP-ECHC ) with Rev. Fr. Dan Vicente Cancino, MI as one of the resource speakers, Woodwater Center for Healing (Camillians), and PHILCHAN Visayas with Sr. Mila Grace Silab, SPC as the Chair. (mbcn/jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA website on Aug. 28, 2015)