City celebrates Aids International Candlelight memorial

Rainbow Barracks set up a two-day human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing hub in Malcolm Square for the celebration and advocacy.

Bootz Yabut Jr. said they have at least tested 2,600 individuals in the different establishments like bars and parlor shops in the city where 50 individuals resulted positive in their tests when they have started advocating free HIV testing since last year. Their medical kits were provided by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine of the Department of Health.

"This is alarming, we have a big number of cases. We are doing this in order to help our friends from the LGBT community to prevent this. We hope to have a decrease of the number by 2020," Yabut said.

According to a statistics from the Department of Health, the average number of individuals who are tested HIV positive is 30 per day from March to present this year.

The City Health Services Office together with the Department of Health (DOH), Babes, Rainbow Bar and other advocates celebrate the International Aids (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) candlelight Memorial.

Dr. Celia Flor Brillantes said the celebration will commemorate those who have died in the country due to HIV-Aids as well as those People Living with HIV (PLHIV).

DOH-CAR earlier has reported last January to February this year, the average of individuals tested to be HIV positive in the country is pegged at 28.

From 1984 to February 2017, DOH has recorded a total of 209 HIV cases in Baguio City; 31 in Benguet; 29 in Abra; 9 in Apayao; 7 in Ifugao and with 5 cases both in Kalinga and Mountain Province.

“This can be prevented through abstinence, proper use of condom, be faithful to partners and by avoiding drugs,” Brillantes said.

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. It destroys the body’s natural defenses against sickness called immune system. It has no particular signs and symptoms and a person infected may still look and feel health yet may possibly infect other. There is no cure for HIV infection but it is manageable.

Aids is the condition of the body where the immune system can no longer fight off opportunistic infections due to HIV. It is the last stage of HIV infection leading to possible death due to Aids related illnesses like pneumonia, tuberculosis, cancer and others.
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