An official of the healthcare ministry of the Philippine Catholic bishops reminded the faithful to continue caring for the most vulnerable during the pandemic, especially those living with HIV and AIDS.
“If we don’t make bold actions to get rid of inequalities and inequities in the system of government and society, remove policies that discriminate, there will be those who cannot share on the table of the Lord,” said Father Dan Cancino, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care.
The Camillian priest noted in his message on the occasion of the observance of World AIDS Day on Wednesday, December 1, that discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS continues to this day.
The theme of this year’s observance of the annual event is “End inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemics.”
“This is the time to take action to protect those in need, the vulnerable, and the population who can easily be infected,” said the priest in an interview over Church-run Veritas 846.
Government data show that the Philippines is experiencing an increase in the number of HIV cases, from 22 cases per day in 2020 to 33 cases per day in 2021.
The HIV/AIDS and ART (Antiretroviral Therapy) Registry of the Philippines shows that from January 1984 to September 2021, 90,960 HIV cases were reported in the country, while 54,022 people living with HIV are now receiving their free ART drugs from the government.
Based on the latest data from the UNAIDS, some 120,000 adults and children are currently living with HIV in the Philippines.
So far, 9,244 people living with HIV have been fully immunized against COVID-19, while 3,076 have received their first doses.