THE Philippine National Aids Council (PNAC) is planning to include religious groups in its campaign against the proliferation of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Aids).

In an interview Sunday, Gerard Belimac of the DOH-National Aids/STI Prevention and Control Program said the inter-agency panel also wants to get the input of faith-based groups.

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"There is a plan to expand the membership and include faith-based organizations," said Belimac, who is the program manager of the DOH unit.

However, the health official said enclosures of faith-based organizations (FBOs) do not automatically mean that it will come from the ranks of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

"The Catholic Church is not the only faith-based organization in the country. We have so many FBOs in the country," stressed Belimac.

To recall, it is the Roman Catholic Church that has been the strongest opponent of the promotion of condom use in the country.

The CBCP has repeatedly opposed the use of condom and other artificial contraceptives, saying it is anti-life as it constitutes abortion.

Condom use is being touted as the most effective deterrent against the transmission on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Aids.

And aside from including FBOs in PNAC, Belimac reiterated for a continuous communication with all stakeholders in a bid to address the continued spread of HIV/Aids.

"The DOH and PNAC is very transparent and welcomes discussions and forums among all stakeholders. It has always been for more continuing communication among very important stakeholders," Belimac said.

PNAC is an inter-agency council that serves as the central advisory, planning and policy-making body for the comprehensive and integrated HIV and AIDS prevention in the country.

It is composed of 16 government agencies, nine non-government organizations and a group of people living with HIV. (AMN/Sunnex)