This year’s observance of the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial also remembered those who fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic.
The observance, which is held every third Sunday of May, commemorates the lives of those who died and those living with the human immunodeficiency virus.
Father Dan Vicente Cancino, executive secretary of the Commission on Health Care of the Catholic bishops’ conference said the world is now confronted with two pandemics that are both without cure yet.
“Today, we come to merge them together, and confront these two pandemics together,” said the priest. “How do we confront it? We confront it with prayer and the Holy Eucharist.”
Government data show a total of 74,807 HIV cases in the country from January 1984 to December of last year. At least 3,730 people have reportedly died of the disease.
Father Cancino said this year’s event is “not only to remember those who died” but to “honor those who are fighting the disease, those who are sick not only with HIV but with COVID-19.”
The priest called on the public to also express gratitude to the people who are “fighting for us” against the two deadly diseases that brought suffering to many.
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, coordinated by the Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+), is one of the world’s oldest and largest grassroots mobilization campaigns for HIV awareness in the world.
Started in 1983, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is led by a coalition of community organizations in many countries.
The Candlelight Memorial serves as a community mobilization campaign to raise social consciousness about HIV and AIDS.
With 38 million people living with HIV today, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial serves as an important intervention for global solidarity, breaking down barriers of stigma and discrimination, and giving hope to new generations.