BAGUIO CITY, May 24 (PIA) - - The City AIDS Watch Council AWAC) and its partners led the public in lighting candles to pay tribute to those who died of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/ acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), show support to People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and raise awareness on such global health concern.
Held at the Malcolm Square here today, the activity was in line with the annual International Candlelight Memorial Day being observed globally every third Sunday of May.
It was participated by the City Government of Baguio headed by the City Health Services Office, the Department of Health (DOH), the Baguio Association of Bars and Entertainment Society (BABES), among other partners.
A free HIV testing was also provided to the public through the Metropolitan Community Church of Metro Baguio. There were HIV/AIDS education campaigns and entertainment numbers.
AWAC secretariat head, City HSO Reproductive Health and Wellness Center chief Dr. Celiaflor Brillantes, said HIV/AIDS remains to be a major health concern with cases of new infections getting into alarming level. National data in February 2019 show an average of 38 new infections diagnosed per day.
For Baguio City, Brillantes disclosed that since monitoring started in 1984, there were already 331 HIV cases recorded.
As per demographics, similar with the e national scenario, HIV infection in the younger age bracket 15 - 34 years old is increasing and majority of the cases are MSMs (Men Having Sex with Men).
MSMs sexual network is also getting complicated because some of them are also having sex with women, she added.
For public health advisory, Brillantes reiterated the health department's "ABCDE" HIV advocacy which stands for "Abstinence, Being faithful, Correct and consistent use of condoms, Don't use drugs and Early detection or treatment." (JDP/CCD- PIA CAR with Danielle Garin/UC Intern)
Know Your Status. Volunteers line up for a free HIV Screening at Malcolm Square. (CCD/PIA CAR)