To prevent HIV, have sex only in marriage–bishop
A CATHOLIC bishop on Saturday warned that nine Filipinos were being infected daily by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), even as it advised the faithful to abstain from premarital sex and to stick to only one partner.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo called on all Catholic dioceses in the country to “declare audaciously” that the spread of HIV could be prevented if the people practiced “premarital abstinence” and “mutual fidelity between spouses in marriage,” according to a report on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website.
“In many cases, the spread of HIV is a symptom of deeper spiritual and moral maladies of society. To stop the virus, there must be a conversion of hearts through deeper friendship with Jesus Christ, the ‘One who gives life, and life in abundance’ as exemplified in the life of the young St. Pedro Calungsod,” Pabillo said.
The bishop issued the call as the Catholic Church prepares for the nationwide observance of the 2nd National AIDS Sunday on Dec. 2 with the theme “Getting to Zero. Be true. Stay True.”
“Already, there are over 10,000 cases of HIV in our land with young Filipinos aged 15 to 24 comprising around one-third of the new infections,” said Pabillo, national director of CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action.
“Eighty percent of new cases were acquired through males having sex with other males and one out of 10 cases are overseas Filipino workers. The number of HIV cases among injecting drug users is also on the rise,” he said.
Pabillo said the Church was facing the greater challenge of reaching out to these vulnerable groups to find appropriate responses to widespread prostitution and human trafficking, poverty and corruption of morals “due to easy access to pornography and a daily dosage of evocative images on TV.”
Pabillo will say Mass at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Guia Parish in Ermita on Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. in support of people with HIV.
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