Confusion over sexual identity contributes to rise in HIV-AIDS cases

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MAKATI City, Sept. 13, 2012?With 88% of new HIV-AIDS infections being transmitted through “men having sex with men” (MSM), a recent HIV-AIDS training identified sexual orientation confusion as indirectly contributing to the spread of the virus.

Fr. Dan Cancino, coordinator of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care on HIV-AIDS programs explained how not being aware of one’s God-given dignity leads to sexual identity confusion and often, to risky behavior.

Minsan ang tingin nila sa sarili nila, bagay… ‘Yung bang sabihin mo na, ‘Likha ng Panginoon na mapagmahal. Huwag mong hayaan na ibang tao ay gamitin ka at ituring kang parang bagay. (Sometimes, they see themselves as objects. You want to tell them, ‘You are the creation of a loving God. Don’t let other people use you and treat you like an object.)’ Some of them go to that because they don’t have that good sense of self. Nalilito sila (They get confused),” Cancino said, in an interview with YouthPinoy!.

Cancino was one of the speakers in the recently-held seminar training on HIV-AIDS for religious and lay leaders organized by the Archdiocese of Manila last August 22.

UNAIDS Country Coordinator Teresita Marie Bagasao during her report on the global and regional HIV-AIDS situation, said MSM are not necessarily homosexual, but are, for one reason or another, engaging in sexual activities with other men.

Bagasao asked the workshop participants, who were mostly members of the clergy and religious, about the possible role faith-based communities could play in helping the particular sector of MSM deal with possible sexual orientation confusion.

“What we can reflect to you is what young people and older people are thinking and doing,” she added.

Bagasao also commented on the valuable contribution the Catholic Church has been making to address the spread of HIV-AIDS like the drafting of pastoral manuals that discuss responsible sexuality.

While she admitted that the UNAIDS can only reach out to people at the grassroots level through its partnerships, Bagasao said it is the agency’s “whole range” policy to promote life skills education, delay of sexual debut and not just condom use.

Noel Palaypayon, R.N. of the National Epidemiology Center – DOH also confirmed during his report on the HIV-AIDS situation in the country, there has been a steady shift of the mode of HIV infections from heterosexual sex to MSM.

Every day, there are an estimated 9 new HIV infections. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]


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