DAVAO City Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag and seven city councilors underwent testing for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) at the Sangguniang Panglungsod (SP) Tuesday, November 20, as part of efforts to help end stigma against the infection.
The activity was part of an HIV awareness campaign for World Aids Day on December 4. The HIV test was organized by the Olympus Society of Davao Incorporated, Davao City Aids Council (DCAC), Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) and Alagad Mindanao Incorporated.
The councilors who got tested were Al Ryan Alejandre, Rene Elias Lopez, Melchor Quitain, Mary Joselle Villafuerte, Carmelo Clarion, Antonette Principe-Castrodes and Edgar Ibuyan Jr.
“Manawagan ko na kamo pud, mga katawhan sa Davao City na magpa-test pud aron mahibal-an nato (I am calling all the Dabawenyos to get tested also for you to know your status),” Clarion told reporters right after the HIV test Tuesday.
Councilor Antonette Principe-Castrodes also urged the public who are sexually active to get tested because of possible exposure to the infection.
“They should not be afraid to have HIV testing, kailangan they should know their status of their healthn para mawala yong,” Alejandre said.
“This is also to remove stigma about HIV and sa kadaghan sa ihap sa nag-positibo sa HIV, mas maayo nang kita, kabalo ta (This activity is also to remove stigma on HIV. There is a growing number of HIV positives today that is why we should know our status),” Principe-Castrodes said.
Villafuerte, for her part, said that as elected public servants, they should serve as an example to the young people.
“We are encouraging Dabawenyos to know their status by undergoing a free HIV test,” she said.
Meanwhile, Olympus Society of Davao president Oscar Obenza urged the public to join the fight against the stigma on HIV and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Aids), the incurable disease caused by HIV, by getting tested on the National HIV Testing Day on November 24, Saturday.
“We are positive with our advocacy. It is already breaking the stigma. HIV testing is for all, whoever you are,” Obenza said.