Manila (Agenzia Fides) - Even in times of pandemic, joint and collective efforts are required to fight AIDS and overcome the prejudices and stigmatizations that affect HIV-positive people. "Our nation and the whole world are called to show solidarity and empathy with those who suffer from it. We must all work together in the fight against AIDS", said Fr. Dan Cancino, Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Health Commission. Speaking on the occasion of the World Day against AIDS, celebrated yesterday, 1 December, the Camillian stressed that "we must continue to support the families of people who have died as a result of AIDS".
According to the Philippine Ministry of Health, an average of 21 new cases of HIV infection are reported in the country every day. The Philippines reported a total of 81,169 HIV/AIDS cases from January 1984 (when the first case was registered) to October 2020.
Speaking on the issue of the disease, which does not diminish in times of pandemic, the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), an ecumenical body that brings together Protestant Churches of different denominations and the Catholic Church, reaffirmed its commitment "to an AIDS-free society". Recalling the theme of the World AIDS Day 2020, "Global solidarity and shared responsibility", Mathews George Chunakara, Secretary General of the CCA, said in a statement sent to Fides: "We need to reflect on our actions as a community of believers and strengthen our health systems, through the Covid-19 crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many countries to suspend their AIDS prevention and treatment programs". Chunakara reaffirms the collective responsibility of the churches in Asia to continue fighting the AIDS epidemic that has plagued the world for 40 years.
"The CCA, along with its member organizations, will continue to be at the forefront of the movement for the right to life and health. Let's put an end to AIDS, calling for global solidarity and shared responsibility, ensuring that no one is left behind", he added. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 2/12/2020)