LOOK: Priest Hugs Man Holding a Sign That Says He’s HIV Positive

Manila Red Cross Youth commemorates World Aids Day every year since one of their advocacies is HIV and AIDS Prevention Education. World AIDS Day commemoration is a simple event that aims to bring big impact to the society, especially the youth. Through this simple activity, they hope to reduce or end the stigma.

This year, Manila Red Cross Youth commemorated World AIDS Day on December 2 at the Philippine Red Cross Manila Chapter in Intramuros, Manila, where certain photos taken by Jaryna Limbauan have made rounds around the Internet. In the photo

Priest Hugs HIV Positive HIV

The priest in the photo admits that he was hesitant at first, but after seeing the smiles around him, he knew he would do something right. “THE CHURCH LOVES YOU. JESUS LOVES YOU.” he posts along with the photo above.

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According to a Facebook post by Geoff Domingo, the Intramuros Grand Marian Procession passed by in front of them and they all went out to see the annual spectacle. There, many devotees approached and hugged the man carrying the sign “Free Hugs, I’m HIV+”.

“Some of those people are these shepherds who break the stigma to reflect God’s compassion and love.” He adds, “We do hope that one day, there won’t be any new HIV infections. There won’t be anymore stigma on HIV and discrimination to PLHIVs, that there won’t be anymore AIDS-related deaths, and that all may enjoy a dignified and happy life. See Geoff’s full post here.

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The event was initiated by Manila Red Cross Youth in partnership with HASAP Project. This year’s theme was “Know your Status” and they invited (and are continuing to invite) people to join in stopping stigma and discrimination among people living with HIV.

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This year’s commemoration features HIV and AIDS awareness activities, HIV and AIDS Prevention Education, Testimonials from people living with HIV, Freedom Wall, Human Red Ribbon, Candle Lighting, and Free HIV Testing. The free HIV Testing started as part of our World AIDS Day Commemoration last year, and this year, they partnered with HIV & AIDS Support House Inc. for it.