To start the month in commemoration of World Aids Day, which was held during December 1, and founded since 1988, to raise awareness, funds, and ending the stigma, through improving education about Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was locally celebrated at SM Bacolod Atrium.
HIV is a virus that people acquire mostly during intercourses, however, it can also be transmitted through reuse of syringe (injections), blood transplant, contact with open wounds, and etc. The virus lives in our blood which targets and weakens our body’s immune system increasing the risk to another disease to form in our body. Whereas AIDS is the progressed form of the virus with a bacteria or disease already.
PULA Negros, an HIV advocacy group in Negros organized the event on Sunday morning, together with different private and public hospitals, and with the participation of different schools and organizations within Negros. The event was held successful since it’s the 22nd Anniversary of World AIDS Day.
The activity started at 9:00 a.m. with an Essay Writing Contest participated by different schools in Bacolod City. It was followed by the lecture of Dr. Joan Cerrada, chairperson of the HIV and AIDS Core Team, a primary group task to provide treatment, care, and support services to people living with HIV, based at Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital. The event had basic discussions about the virus, such as; what is it? How an individual can get it? What are the signs and symptoms? And How to treat it?
C-correct and consistent use of condoms
D-do not use drugs and drink too much alcohol
E-education and early detection
Shared after the lecture, a few yet important and memorable reminders for the audience on how to avoid such viruses. Through these symbolic letters we can be responsible, conscious, and aware of our actions to live a better and healthier life.
After the talks, they initiated free testing (Rapid test) to the participants and anyone who came by. The Rapid test on the finger stick is examining through the blood which a small amount was taken from the tip of our finger and mixed with some solution. Together with me, Joshua Ofiasa Villalobos former head of HAPI Jr. got tested and gladly we helped to raised awareness and fight to stop the stigma in our society. And in just 20 minutes, you would already get the result.
There are 2 types of results we can get from the testing:
- Reactive – preliminary positive. Individual should proceed to the second test to be done through blood drawn once from the arm, for confirmation.
- Non-Reactive – basically means negative. No antibodies are detected. However, there are some possibilities that it doesn’t get seen by the detector; you had just sex to somebody past days before the day you got tested.
The event was well organized; it has a lot of sponsors from various organizations and agencies. During the event, they produced unified red shirts with a logo of ending stigma about HIV/AIDS. They gave snacks and lunch for the participants. They also had short films presentation for the attendees and mall-goers.
Sadly, this year since January, I only attended 2 events who talk about HIV/AIDS, it’s so few for me however for the majority, none. The number of PLHIV are rising every day in the whole world and yet we only got a few people who are doing such activities to stop the stigma and discrimination and ending the rising rating of infected individuals. This got our attention to plan more sustainable projects and activities to help our society about the rampant issue.