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Bishop: Abstinence, fidelity sure ways to avoid HIV

Two weeks before the Second National AIDS Sunday on December 2, a Catholic bishop reiterated the Church message that premarital abstinence and marital fidelity are sure ways to prevent the sexual transmission of Human Immune-deficiency Virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. In a statement on Friday, Manila auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo also said the message will be announced to all dioceses in the country in preparation for National AIDS Sunday. To spread the information about HIV/AIDS, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) declared every first Sunday of December as the National AIDS Day. Pabillio said the theme for the information drive from 2011 to 2015 is: “Getting to Zero. Be true. Stay true.” Red HIV ribbons will be distributed to symbolize everybody’s commitment to stop the spread of the virus and to eliminate stigma through correct information. Moreover, Pabillo said the Pope’s proclamation of the Year of Faith and the canonization of Pedro Calungsod should inspire the faithful to do what is right. 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” (Porta Fidei 2) as exemplified in the life of the young St. Pedro Calungsod. For his part, Pabillo said he will celebrate the National AIDS Day with the parishioners of the Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Guia Parish in Ermita, Manila, with a Mass at 6 p.m. HIV/AIDS  The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) produced an 8 minute video ( to spread information about the disease. The video describes HIV as a disease that attacks and destroys our immune system which is the body’s natural way of fighting off infection. The virus has no symptoms during its first few months aside from fever. Symptoms usually appear when HIV is already full blown or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. A person with AIDS loses the ability to fight off infectious bacteria in the body. Due to the weakening of the body, AIDS cases usually end in death. There is no cure to HIV but it can be avoided. One can be infected with HIV through:
(1)   Vaginal discharge (2)   Semen (3)   Blood transfusion (4)   Breastfeeding.
In his statement, Pabillo also said the spread of HIV is a symptom of deeper spiritual and moral disorders in society, adding that nine Filipinos are infected daily, and that 10 percent of those infected are overseas Filipino workers. There are already 10,000 cases of HIV in the Philippines with the age group of 15 – 24 comprising around one third of the new infections. Some 80 percent of the new cases were homosexual cases of males having sex with another male, even as HIV cases caused by injecting drug users is also rising. — Andrei Medina /LBG, GMA News