By Philippine News Agency
ZAMBOANGA CITY–The local government, through the City Health Office, joined the 35th International Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) candlelight memorial here Friday afternoon.
Anchored on the theme, “Reflecting on our past, preparing for our future,” the activity is held annually to remember those who died of AIDS.
Part of the activity is the conduct of free HIV testing and the lighting of the giant HIV symbol ribbon.
“We have to break barriers and stigma. We have to encourage people to get themselves tested. Know your status so you will be able to seek early treatment and diagnosis,” Dr. Dulce Amor Dagalea-Miravite, OIC City Health Officer, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.
She said that treatment is available at the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC), where HIV positive individuals may avail of anti-retroviral drugs.
The City Health Office also advocates prevention programs, such as abstinence, and the correct and consistent use of condoms, as well as educating the public on the dangers of illegal drugs use.
Dagalea-Miravite said data from her office showed that this city has 401 registered cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from 1995 until March 2018, with 65 deaths due to AIDS.
AIDS is a condition in humans, in which, progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive.