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article imageAfter the RH law, Church wants focus turned on HIV-AIDS patients Special

By Antonio Figueroa     Dec 30, 2012 in World
Manila - A day after the Manila admin signed the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, or Republic Act No. 10354, the Catholic Church has turned its focus in helping understand the plight of people with HIV and those with full-blown AIDS.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a lentivirus causes acquired immune-deficiency syndrome (AIDS), which, according to Wikipedia, is “a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive.”
In a statement, Fr. Dan Cancino, regional coordinator of Southeast Asia HIV and AIDS Catholic Network, said people who are affected with HIV-AIDS related illnesses need emotional and spiritual support, saying such assistance strengthens the desire of patients to survive longer.
“A lot of people with HIV,” he stressed, “want to change their behavior but do not have the support.”
The same sentiment was reechoed by Msgr. Robert Vitillo, a special adviser on HIV and AIDS for Caritas Internationalis, who underscored the Philippine experience on how HIV and AIDS patients confront “the problem of discrimination against PLH (persons living with HIV),” and the “stigma and rejection even by family members.”
Cancino, who has worked for eight years already with PLH, said “The first question should not be, ‘how did you get infected?’ ”
Records available at the Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry, there were 295 new HIV cases registered as of October 2012. This statistics is 48 percent higher that the previous year’s figure for the same month.
According to Wikipedia, from 1984 to 2012, the reported HIV positive cases in the Philippines have already reached 10,514, 92% (9,637) of these acquired through sexual contact, 4% (420) from needle-sharing by drug users, 1% (59) through mother-to-child transmission, less than 1% (20) through blood transfusion, less than 1% (3) from needle prick injury, and 4% (375), unsupported cases.
Earlier, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte also issued a statement saying RA 10354 had already been published online in the Official Gazette, after President Benigno s. Aquino III signed the bill into law.
“[The law] is the mark of a true democracy: one in which debate that spans all levels of society is spurred by deeply-held beliefs and values, enriching and elevating public discourse, as we all work together to find ways to improve the lives of our fellow citizens,” she proudly declared.
The law will take into effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two Philippine newspapers of general circulation.
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