HIV-Aids game app launching on Dec. 1

A GAMING application that aims to help promote Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) awareness and decrease HIV cases is set to be launched in Davao City on December 1, in line with the World Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (Aids) Day.

Battle in the Blood (BitB) is a game application born out of the collaboration of the UK government and the Philippine government.

"Our collaborators are from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), we are from UP Manila National Institute of Health and our developers are from DM studios," said doctor Emmanuel Bajan, UP Manila National Institute of Health game app collaborator.

Bajan added that BitB has 90 levels.

"You create your own avatar and the avatar goes inside the capsule and it goes inside your blood. So the main objective of the game is to fight HIV and its co-infections," he said.

The gaming application has eight short stories of people living with HIV.

"These are courageous stories. It includes heterosexual relationship in the mother and child transmission case. We have homosexual. We have bi-sexual relationship. We also have transgender and we talk about employee-employee relationship. There is an OFW and there is a child who was also sexually abused," Bajan said.

He added that it will be available starting December 1 on Google Play and Apple Store for free.

Bajan said the project aims to encourage people to get tested and to inform people that there is treatment even though there is no cure yet for HIV-Aids and that treatment is available in the local government.

"All they have to do is to know their status and get tested," Bajan said.

He said they chose Davao city since the Davao Region is among the highest in the prevalence of HIV cases in the country.

The idea of development of this app came after LSTM responded to the call of Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) regarding the infectious disease.

This is the first gaming app of its kind that will be launched in Davao City.

A gaming contest already commenced in three districts in Buhangin, Tugbok, and Bankerohan. The grand winner will be announced on December 1.

"The target population is really young adolescents, 15 to 22 years old," Bajan said.

Doctor Godofreda Dalmacion of UP College of Medicine, in a separate interview, said they really intended to target the adolescents since records show that deaths from latest data youth age 15 to 24.

She said they aim to target vulnerable teenagers especially the out of school youth, to be knowledgeable on HIV.

"The more important thing is about changing attitude to show people that life goes on after positive diagnosis," Charlotte Hemingway of LSTM said.
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