MANILA, Nov 22, 2012 – Mention HIV-AIDS and people probably think of promiscuous sex or infected needles. It is not initially obvious that poor relationships in the family are at the root of the HIV-AIDS pandemic.
Regional coordinator of Southeast Asia HIV and AIDS Catholic Network Fr. Dan Cancino said, “[The real issue] will go back to the family itself.”
Fractured family relationships
From his 8 years of serving People Living with HIV-AIDS, Cancino observed how the initial experience in the family influences how vulnerable a person eventually becomes to HIV-AIDS.
A poor family environment, fractured relationships and lack of communication are factors that often drive people to find love and attention in casual sexual relationships that eventually bring about HIV infections.
Cancino, who is also a medical doctor, said when he asks his People Living with HIV (PLH) patients what they really want and need their answer is simple, “They all go back to that: pagmamahal ng magulang, pagmamahal na galing sa pamilya (the love of parents, the love that comes from the family), ‘yung sense of belongingness that comes from the family.”
HIV-AIDS infections are just symptoms of a deeper hurt in the modern Filipino family, according to Cancino, who is also the coordinator of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care on HIV-AIDS programs.
Though the hypothesis comes mainly from Cancino’s observations of his patients, this may soon be backed by actual scientific research.
Last September, a group of researchers started a study of the family issues, depression and anxiety levels of some of Cancino’s HIV patients.
From January to June alone of this year, there has been a 27% increase in HIV infections or an increase of 439 new cases in just 6 months.
According to the Department of Healthy, there are an estimated 21,837 People Living with HIV in the country. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz/CBCPNews]