A new resource book on HIV and AIDS is promoting visions of a strengthening partnership among churches and faith-based organisations in the Philippines to address the country’s HIV epidemic.
The launch was held by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)-Cosmopolitan Church on 15 February 2014 in Manila, capital of the Philippines.
The resource book, titled Working Towards Ending Stigma, Shame, Denial, Discrimination, Inaction and Mis-action, grows out of the June 2013 HIV Forum supported by the WCC, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and the UCCP National Office.
“Behind this publication is the total recognition that the inter-related issues of prevention, treatment and ultimately the stamping out of HIV are intricately complex,” said the Rev Dr Jose Andres Sotto, senior pastor of the UCCP-Cosmopolitan Church.
“We all need to recognize that for this work on the HIV/AIDS pandemic to be sustainable, we also need to address the many tentacles of injustice that define our relationships with people living with, or directly affected by, HIV and AIDS,” he added.
Dr Erlinda N. Senturias, former World Council of Churches staff member, book editor and vice chair of the Interfaith Network of Religious Leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS (INERELA+), expressed her hopes for the churches in the Philippines to be “HIV competent”.
“Our church is a downtown church at the heart of Manila, and we wish to make a contribution to get to zero new HIV infections, zero stigma and discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. We hope to work together with other local churches to campaign” and achieve the three goals, said Senturias at the launch.