World AIDS Day 2022: EQUALIZE PH
The World AIDS Day is being commemorated annually by the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), along with the local and international community, in honor and remembrance of those who battled and lost their valuable lives due AIDS-related complications. It is also a crucial moment to bring people together in carrying forward the awareness-raising, and to demonstrate our witness and solidarity to all people living with HIV and AIDS and their families. We believe that the body of Christ agonize for every sibling suffering with HIV and AIDS. Thus, as one Council and one body of Christ, we continue to work towards prevention, healing and recovery through intensive education among our member churches and communities.
According to the World Health Organization: “The global HIV response is in danger, even as HIV remains a major public health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Over the last few years progress towards HIV goals has stalled, resources have shrunk, and millions of lives are at risk as a result.” Inequalities, divisions and disregard for human rights are among the reasons on why HIV remains to be a global health crisis. With this, the NCCP anchored on the UNAIDS theme for this year’s World AIDS Day, “EQUALIZE,” calling on the global leaders to address the inequalities in society that fuel the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
The NCCP HIV and AIDS Program provides Direct Service to PLHIVs. Our records note the staggering number of contractual factory workers, seasonal workers, on-call housekeepers, and sex workers. PLHIVs are especially vulnerable as we know, and they become even more vulnerable as prices of basic commodities continue to soar high while wages remain unlivable. Parents are unable to support the necessary treatment for their children living with HIV due to low family income. They also face threats of losing their jobs due to their illness which cause them stress and anxiety. These families are also put in the most extreme kind of danger in the occurrence of calamities brought about by typhoons and earthquakes. These given instances make the struggle harder for our siblings – every single day.
December is traditionally a season of giving – a time to throw parties and celebrate, a time for reunions and getting together. In the Christian calendar, it is marked as the Advent—the ‘coming’ and the birth of Jesus the Christ. We light candles of hope, joy, peace, and love. Often, the invisibility of PLHIVs extend to our churches and into these celebrations. For various reasons, PLHIVs are inconspicuous. However, this does not mean their absence.
This season, we challenge our churches to be able to see them and include them in our worship spaces, in our liturgy and prayers. Let us invite them to sit and celebrate with us. Let us become an “Emmanuel” whose arrival we herald— an “Emmanuel” to the most vulnerable. Let us donate to shelters and centers. Let us seek them out, and welcome them, just as we welcome the birth of the Christ.
03 December 2022
REV. FELIPE B. EHICAN, JR.
RT. REV. JOEL O. PORLARES
DR. GAY B. MANODON
MA. KAY CATHRINE F. ALMARIO
MAJOR ALLAIN M. NIETES
MS. MINNIE ANNE M. CALUB
Acting General Secretary