DOH draws awareness on HIV/AIDS

BATAC CITY, May 19 – Awareness is key in the prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

This was the central focus of the advocacy program of the Department of Health in the promotion of awareness on HIV/AIDS prevention among the youth, mothers, and locals at the Imelda Cultural Center during a forum held here last May 16.

Dubbed as “Usapang HIV/AIDS,” the forum was made into a talk show style to bring a comprehensive and well-understood discussion on the rampant rising of cases in the province.

“All of us must know what HIV/AIDS is and what it does to us,” Dr. Marie Joyce Santos, infectious disease specialist of the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center (MMMH&MC), said in her presentation.

Unlike other virus, the HIV lives inside the body of a human forever. If left untreated, this leads to the disease called AIDS.

“That’s why it is important for you to get yourself tested,” Dr. Santos challenged the participants of the forum.

In the entire Philippines, a growing number of 30 new HIV cases are tallied as of March 2017 compared to one case last 2008.

Adding that HIV/AIDS is acquired through unprotected sex with same sex partners, she also advised members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) group to have themselves tested in the nearest testing area.

“Having yourself tested is a voluntary move. The MMMH&MC is always welcome for everyone who wants to be tested,” she added.

She further explained and encouraged not to be ashamed of getting tested and of being aware of this alarming issue.

The forum is in observance to the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day with the theme, “Ending AIDS together.”

In its conclusion, guests from the Regional and Provincial Health Offices urged the participants to work hand-in-hand in alleviating cases of this disease in our nation. (Ma. Joreina Therese A. Blanco/PIA1, Ilocos Norte)