November 29, 2015 (12:47 PM)

3 min read


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“AIDS is no ordinary epidemic.”

This was what Basic Education Department Chaplain Fr. Manuel Perez said in his talk during the HIV/AIDS Awareness Forum at the Finster Auditorium last Nov. 27 with the theme, “The AIDS scare: caring beyond our scare”.

According to School of Nursing Dean Patria Manalaysay, the purpose of the event is to be one in celebrating the World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 and raise awareness about the disease.

“We are all here for the World AIDS Day. We really have to go out of our way to inform everyone about this deadly disease.

“It is important to underscore the need to disseminate this sad news to everyone that seven years from 2008 only one case of HIV has been recorded. Now, it has run out to 22 cases of HIV a day,” she added.

In his talk, Perez expounded how HIV/AIDS is an unpredictable disease.

“For many years, it (HIV/AIDS) was a silent epidemic. Even when millions of people were infected with the virus, very few showed outside signs of illness. Sometimes, nobody knew that one has AIDS or HIV,” he said.

Perez also said that the frequency of HIV/AIDS cases is slowly rising.

“People are developing illness associated with AIDS in ever increasing numbers.

“Indeed, HIV/AIDS is among the top ten killers worldwide. We will not be surprised if the top cause of morbidity and fatality will be AIDS,” he said.

Perez also discussed ethical issues and the discrimination of people living with HIV.

In conclusion, Perez emphasized that “we should not succumb easily to hopelessness” and that God will “give meaning” to people who find their lives meaningless.

“For them (people), the meaning of life is associated with money. So these people would succumb to immorality and practices that are inimical to the moral aspects of society and [they] are the obvious candidates to have AIDS.

“The church must address these realities to help them realize that God’s gift of life is precious and that there is more to life than those depressing superficial dimensions,” he said.

The event also featured a testimony from an AIDS victim whose identity is confidential due to ethical issues.

The students and teachers who attended the forum received it as an eye-opener.

“Maganda siya in a way –[Ang] forum na ganito for students para ma-aware [tayo] on the symptoms and mga dapat [nating] bantayan sa HIV,” Kate Dillera, a first year student, said.

The celebration of the World AIDS Day does not limit to the Awareness Forum. On Dec. 1, there will be an HIV testing in the University at F413. On the same day, a Holy Mass will also be conducted. On Dec. 2, students are encouraged to wear red for the Human Ribbon Formation and Prayer. On Dec. 3, another HIV/AIDS Forum will be held at the Ateneo de Davao Matina Campus, and on Dec. 4, another Holy Mass will be held at the San Pedro Cathedral.

End the silence of the gagged!

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