Catholic HIV/AIDS network assembly to focus on improving health care

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MANILA, Oct. 7, 2013—With 3,154 new Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases in the Philippines from January to August alone, the next assembly of the Philippine Catholic HIV and AIDS Network (PhilCHAN) convenes with new urgency on November 7-9, 2013 to discuss how Catholic HIV and AIDS healthcare efforts can be further improved.

In a letter, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, who is also the National Director of the CBCP-NASSA/Caritas Philippines and Bishop-Advisor of PhilCHAN, invited everyone in the Church involved in some form of ministry or service to People Living with HIV (PLHIV) to the 2nd PhilCHAN general assembly at the CBCP-BEC Development Center in Barangay Asisan, Tagaytay City to talk about how the Church can “better address issues around HIV/AIDS.”

The objectives of the assembly is to explore new strategies and initiatives on “improving Catholic healthcare efforts to halt the spread of HIV through updates on the current situation and a parallel look into the current programs of the government on HIV”; “deepening the spirituality of caring for people living and affected by HIV”; “strengthening the referral system amongst PhilCHAN members for those people living with and affected by HIV”; and “strengthen the coordination of activities among PhilCHAN members.”

PhilCHAN, which has an estimated 40 member-organizations and congregations, extends its invitation to new members — Catholic groups, ministries or programs working to holistically assist PLHIV like the youth, OFWs, sex workers, Basic Ecclesial Communities, males-who-have-sex-with-males (MSMs), the poor, and street families.

According to most recent statistics of the Philippine HIV and AIDS registry, the 20-29 year age group has 60% of the cases, the most number with 96% of the new cases involving males.

Participants will not be charged with registration fees, but are requested to shoulder transportation expenses to and from the venue.

For more information, contact Ms. Josephine (Jo) Ignacio, PhilCHAN Secretariat and CBCP-NASSA/Caritas Philippines HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator, at (02) 527-4147, 09175123037 or through email address: jocrisin@yahoo.com. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]

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