ANGELES CITY -- Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan led all government employees and private stakeholders here on Monday, May 22, as the city takes part in the commemoration of the International acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (Aids) Candlelight Memorial.

Spearheaded by the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) and the Angeles City Aids Council, the rites manifest the city’s oneness with the global community in remembering people, who have died because of the dreaded disease.

“The candle lighting ceremony symbolizes hope for persons afflicted with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) that a cure will be discovered in the near future. In the meantime, the government is offering a comprehensive program intended for people living with it to delay its progression to Aids,” said Pamintuan.

The HIV attacks the body’s immune system. If left untreated, HIV can lead to Aids which makes patients more vulnerable to opportunistic diseases.

Dr. Verona Guevarra, head of RHWC, said that there has been 435 cases of HIV-positive patients in the city as of February 2017.

Central Luzon ranks third among regions in the country with the highest number of reported HIV cases according to Department of Health (DOH). An average of four patients per day are diagnosed to have acquired the said virus.

“We remember the people who have passed away due to Aids and its complications. We would also want to emphasize that having HIV is not the end of one’s life. There are a lot of available treatments and medical interventions to prolong the lives of the HIV-positive patients,” Guevarra said.

The mission of RHWC and the Aids council is to craft proper and relevant awareness campaigns, and intensify the operation of the treatment hub and testing centers in the city through coordination with agencies.

For guidance and concerns, the RHWC is located at C. Surla Street, in Barangay Balibago. Queries are also entertained by the line through City Health Office at (045) 322-4483. (PR)