Church: Don’t judge those with HIV/AIDS


MANILA, Philippines—Catholic Church officials on Friday said the public should not judge people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes the dreaded Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Fr. Dan Cancino, regional coordinator of Southeast Asia HIV and AIDS Catholic Network, said people with HIV should be given emotional and spiritual support instead of being discriminated against.

The rate of HIV infection continues to rise in the Philippines, one of only five countries where the HIV/AIDS incidence is increasing.

“The first question should not be, ‘How did you get infected?,’” Cancino posted on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website.

“A lot of people with HIV want to change their behavior but do not have the support,” added Cancino, who has been serving for the last eight years in the HIV ministry.

Msgr. Robert Vitillo, a special adviser on HIV and AIDS of Caritas Internationalis, said discrimination against people with HIV had remained a “very serious” problem in the Philippines.

“We still have here in the Philippines a very serious problem with stigma and rejection even by family members so we need to teach people to take care of those in their families and those in their neighborhood living with HIV,” said Vitillo.

Sr. Amy Torres, a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, said that besides providing counseling and the sacraments, the religious serving in the HIV ministry could also offer “acceptance.”

“Just love them,” Torres said, who has been giving support to HIV victims since she returned from Lebanon.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), there were 295 new HIV cases in October, 48 percent higher compared to the same period in 2011.

“Most of the cases (93 percent) were males. (Their) median age was 28 years. Forty-six percent (137) of the reported cases were from the National Capital Region (NCR),” the DOH said.

It said most of the new cases (286) were infected due to sexual contact (286) while the remaining nine shared needles.

“Males having sex with other males (83 percent) were the predominant type of sexual transmission. Most (93 percent) of the cases were still asymptomatic at the time of reporting,” the DOH said.

Gay activists have accused the Church of “consistently” undermining the HIV response in the Philippines through its “rejection of evidence-based strategies that countries all over the world used to halt their HIV epidemics.”

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  • Rami

    Our country will be great if we will be more secular.

  • vir_a

    Those who have no HIV/AIDS and are sexually active with multiple partners are condemned and judged by the church because the church does not want them to have protection against HIV/AIDS like using condoms. Hence, this is rather a improper counselling.

  • Ghost

    Its another case of the church stepping back and giving way to the unstoppable advancement of society and the ever-changing and evolving social values. No choice but to give in or join in, or else be totally crushed to oblivion. Values and morals are not absolute, they change with the society, the way society sees them fit. Its social science.

    Lucky for us, we are no longer living during the time that the Church controls the state and has complete enforcement authority. Otherwise, i suspect they will be privileged enough to take an opposing stand. (Images of enlightened individuals and scientists being hauled to dungeons, excommunicated or worse being burned at stake come to my mind).

    While the current church statement on HIV is a welcome thing, I believe it came too late. Generally, many people nowadays are already not condescending on people with AIDS. Liberals, civil liberties and human rights advocates, as well as all enlightened individuals are already taking and promoting this stand decades and decades ago, during the time that the church condemns it.

    Again, the church is way too late in noticing that the world has changed, and that we are no longer in the medieval age.


  • Pok2

    Please come to Fabunan Medical Clinic in San Marcelino Zambales where you will find Happy AIDS patients who are HEALTHY, HAPPY with miraculous recovery compared to dying ones under the DOH care.  Please Google the Fabunan Antiviral Injection and look the validation report of Dr Ethan Will Taylor one of the top NANO Scientist in the world. The Philippine government is blind on this invention because of Foreign Pharma perks and corruption in the system. DOST SEC MONTEJO even knows about this and told them that DOST will validate the invention at Government expense and still hasn’t done anything since NOV 1. All we’re asking is for SEC Montejo to do his job. Just walk the talk.

  • karlo cases arellano

    If I remember correctly the clergy was blaming homosexuals for the spread of AIDS/HIV.
    Now they call out to the people saying not to judge infected individuals.. The clergy are the ones who judge people due to their unacceptance of these people to their beliefs.

    IMHO the church should just shut up. The church is just playing around. A failed institution 

  • Jose

    The CBCP should spearhead the education on avoiding HIV instead of this too timid “don’t judge”.  MY bad, did it mean talking about sex?

  • The Overlord

    Hypocrites! All of you! 

  • lawpedz lawpedz

    “Males having sex with other males (83 percent) were the predominant type of sexual transmission. Most (93 percent) of the cases were still asymptomatic at the time of reporting,” the DOH said.

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