MANILA, August 24, 2012— They discussed about sex and other sensitive topics and of all places, inside a chapel.
Talking about HIV/AIDS means discussing matters related to sex, which is not easy for some people, said an official of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Health Care (ECHC).
But, when you talk to people about sensitive matters, Fr. Dan Cancino, director of the ECHC on HIV/AIDS, said that it is showing them that you care about their health and their life.
“It’s very dangerous when you do not talk about these things. I think this would be a good venture also that the church is open to this. The church is not ignorant about this,” Cancino said.
Around 500 lay leaders from different dioceses in Metro Manila attended a seminar on HIV/AIDS at a chapel in San Carlos Seminary’s Lay Force Center Friday.
Among the speakers was Msgr. Robert Vitillo, special adviser on HIV/AIDS for Caritas Internationalis in the Vatican.
During the open forum, participants were openly asking questions about human sexuality and how to prevent the spread of HIV.
“Their questions were very realistic. They clarified the clouds about sexuality and these sexual activities that would put them at risk to HIV/AIDS,” Cancino said.
“We have been doing this for years now. The church is open to this kind of topic because this is the reality that the church would always go to and help people clear out this ignorance,” he said.
According to Vitillo, the church has been active in responding to HIV/AIDS for many years since the beginning of the epidemic in the early 1980s.
“And I think it is important because it is part of our mission as a church. We responded to teach people, to serve people and to give pastoral guide to people,” he said.
The Philippines, he also said, is one of the seven countries in the world where there is a sharp increase of HIV infections— a “dangerous sign” that more Filipinos could be infected.
“So it’s very important that we educate people about the risk of being infected with HIV and for the church to teach the values,” Vitillo said.
“Sexual contact is increasingly spreading the disease and we believe that people who are not married should be sexually optimists and those who are married should be permanently and mutually faithful to each other,” he said. “That is the best way of preventing the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.” [RL/CBCPNews]
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