$25 Million AIDS Pledge

GLOBAL AIDS DAY ® PLEDGES $25 MILLION TO PREVENT AIDS IN THE PHILIPPINES… and brings the message of abstinence across!

By: Arlene Icasiano, Tanay Geographic - June 6, 2007

Global AIDS Day, established 2005, launched its maiden voyage in the Philippines Saturday, June 2, 2007 in Tanay, Rizal. Thousands participated in the whole day tri-fold media blitz which featured a Free Medical and Dental Mission, Children’s Fun-Day and a community-based cultural presentation titled: “AIDS. . . The Social Terrorist! Protect our Children Now”. Present during the event are Rizal Provincial newly-elected Governor Hon. Jun Ynarez.

Global AIDS Day’s program partners, CBN Asia’s Operation Blessing and Jollibee Corporation, catered to hundreds of indigents who received free consultation to receive dental treatment, minor surgery, circumcision and medicine, while hundreds of less fortunate children were treated to a grand party with mascots- Jollibee, Twirlie and Hetty.

The highlight of the cultural presentation came during the heartwarming rendition of the song, “God Will Make A Way” performed by the “One Hundred Voice-Children’s Choir” of the San Ildefonso Church.  Along with the candle lighting ceremony a tearful audience stood in awe and silence as Global AIDS Day Vice President Rev. Jerry A. Hanson led the audience in a prayer to remember more than 25 million people who have perished in the fight against AIDS, and declared victory against HIV/AIDS in the Philippines. Moreover 15 million innocent children are the unfortunate Orphans of AIDS, today.

Global AIDS Day, which commemorates its event “The First Saturday in June” is a non-governmental organization and is determined to bring the message of abstinence and fidelity across to all sectors of the society as a deterrent to the global pandemic of HIV/AIDS. The group has also launched HIV? Not Me, One-Partner Program and the Philippine Hope Center, which will bring healthy sexual awareness through education and public information campaigns among many youth who today prefer covenant marriage. The Philippine Hope Center will serve as temporary shelter and training facility for those at-risk individuals, especially youth and children who are increasingly being exposed to risky pressures that may develop into high-risk social and sexual behaviors like drug abuse, prostitution and even worse, STD infection HIV and AIDS.

Founder and President Dr. Paul J. Caratti, believes that we have to exert our effort in helping our children understand the danger of early sex, in order to effect a change in their perspective towards sexuality, therefore, lessening the window of opportunity for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) like HIV/AIDS and of the 30 other different types of STDs; also, unwanted pregnancies that are rampant among young people today. He also, reiterated the importance of covenant relationship and fidelity as a strong preventive strategy against this global-wide pandemic. Prevention and treatment groups now agree that without comprehensive AIDS prevention, the world can no longer afford to treat the epidemic affecting 40 million people today and growing by 4 million new infections each year.

“If youth learn to wait to have sex until they are married, and if couples, including Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) remain faithful to their one partner, then there would be no need for us to fear AIDS in the Philippines, or for that matter anywhere in the world. But since 87 percent of HIV infections in the Philippines come from extra-marital sexual relations and from teens that experiment with sex before marriage, then we must be open and honest with sexual matters like abstinence; that is if we are going to affect a positive and healthy change.” Dr. Caratti commented.

Furthermore, he believes that Filipinos have always been a family-based and traditionally-oriented culture that understands the benefit of having a comprehensive and preventive education in order to maintain good health. Moreover the organization’s approach for preventing HIV/AIDS is no different, and believes that monogamy-based abstinence and fidelity should always be an integral part of any HIV/AIDS preventive campaign program regardless of the degree of influence.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Department of Health reported the situation with “AIDS has changed from a ‘low and slow’ progression to a ‘growing and hidden’ concern, which left unchecked could escalate into epidemic proportions.  Health Secretary Francisco Duque admitted that about 2,792 Filipinos are now infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV); and that more than half (58%) of the reported cases were in the 25- 39 years age group. However, the median age is 30 years, ranging from 18 to 50 years.

The Department of Health also warned that the actual numbers could be much higher at around 11,200, with some 8,000 hidden or undetected cases. According to Health Secretary Duque, "A significant change in this is that 8,000 of these HIV positives are now found in the general population.”   Source: Asia Pulse Pte Ltd   asia.news.yahoo.com

After 26 years HIV/AIDS continues to be a major threat that infects over four million people every year worldwide for which there is no cure. Presently 40 million people have HIV/AIDS and over 25 million people have died, making AIDS one of the fastest growing out-of-control health and economic concerns that face our world today.

Global AIDS Day supports the United Nations' campaign against the growing HIV and AIDS problem in the Philippines that now encourages messages from the pulpit, not necessarily suggesting the use of condoms, but the traditional Church prescription of abstinence and loyalty to partners and encourages all parishes and congregation to do the same. 

The UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has tapped CARITAS and the Archdiocese of Manila for the project, considering the extent of their influence, especially among the urban poor.

Global AIDS Day, under the canopy of an open-heaven, made an appeal to protect our society, especially the children from HIV/AIDS, where thousands of Filipinos, governmental leaders, religious clergy and private sector locked arms in unanimous support. Present during the affair is newly-elected Provincial Governor of Rizal, Honorable Jun Ynarez as well as Tanay Mayor, Honorable Tomas A. Tanjuatco who threw in their unequivocal support to support the cause of this campaign. Also present are Tanay Councilors-Hon. Jimmy Vista, newly elect Councilor , Hon. Joy Montague , Ptr. Art de Castro of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches and the Directors and Advisors of Global AIDS Day.

In addition to being an HIV/AIDS group, Global AIDS Day has committed its support to build at least one hospital, two health-care facilities, and later plans to break ground on the very first-ever PHILIPPINE HOPE CENTER which is coming later this year. The pledge of 25 million U.S. Dollars was made during the Global AIDS Day, June 2, 2007 event and moves forward with meetings later being scheduled with newly-elected Provincial Governor of Rizal, Honorable Jun Ynarez as well as Tanay Mayor, Honorable Tomas A. Tanjuatco.

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