Commemorating the 36thAnnual International Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Candlelight Memorial, the local government of Iligan City local officials raised social consciousness about Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) and AIDS to break down barriers of stigma and discrimination and give hope to new generations.
The City Health Office (CHO) through the Iligan – Lanao HIV AIDS Network (ILHAN) spearheaded a candle lighting at the Amphitheatre Buhanginan Hills, Iligan City hall, on 20 May 2019.
City Mayor Celso G. Regencia, along with the city officials, city hall employees, and ILHAN members led the activities for the day.
ILHAN chairperson Lorena R. Oyao, RN, MN, of the City Health Office said “AIDS Candlelight Memorial reminds us of people affected by the HIV epidemic: people living with HIV (PLHIV) in all their diversity.”
“This includes women, men, young people, gay and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, drug users, the poor, homeless and unstably housed, migrant and formerly or currently incarcerated people,” seh added.
“There is a need to continue to be at the forefront leading our movement for the right to life and the right to health,” she urged.
This includes, Oyao said, fighting for universal, comprehensive and sustainable treatment, care and prevention services, and intensifying our work around human rights, stigma reduction, social and economic justice to ensure that no one is left behind.
The theme this year, “Intensifying the fight for Health and Rights” is a global event implemented by an active network of people involved in the HIV response, including PLHIV and key populations.
At the onset of the commemoration rites, Dr. Glenn L. Manarpaac, HIV & AIDS Medical Coordinator of CHO Iligan and member of ILHAN, reported a total of 1,232 clients screened since 2017 up to present.
A total of 53 were reactive while 80 percent of them were already linked to care.
Further, he said they have conducted awareness lecture, together with the support of various government agencies to a total of 25,385 individuals to different schools.
In his message, Mayor Celso G. Regencia urged the people of Iligan to ‘get tested’ to know their status so that early medication will be taken. (By Lorry V. Gabule)
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