The Philippines United Methodist Church lit candles on World AIDS Day to signify an outcry and commitment to end the stigma on HIV and AIDS.
Bishop Pedro M. Torio Jr. of the Baguio Episcopal area was among those who led the prayers during the candle lighting ceremony. It was the culmination of the two-fold forum held for clergy, laity members, seminarians and student leaders on Dec. 1.
“May this moment of candle-lighting signify the beginning of our conscious efforts to end the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS, and may this signify the beginning of creating and building a caring and redeeming community,” Torio prayed. . . .
Darlene Marquez-Caramanzana, a United Methodist deaconess and vice chair of the International HIV and AIDS Reference Group of the World Council of Churches, said that the rate of the spread of HIV is fast in the Philippines.
“We will lose our young people,” she said. “The pandemic continues to be one of the most serious health concerns in the world. The church is not a church if it doesn’t fulfill its ministry to stop the undue stigma, discrimination and condemnation.” . . .
“Now there are 25 cases a day being reported. It is one of only seven countries in the world where it is increasing.”