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Monday, May 18, 2015

CHO offers free HIV testing in selected barangays

By Gideon C. Corgue

PAGADIAN CITY – The City Health Office (CHO) conducted free human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing in five barangays here during the National HIV Testing Week on May 11-15.

HIV/AIDS coordinator Carleen Jerusalem said the free HIV screening was conducted in barangays Dumagoc, Kawit, Lumbia, Sto. Nino and Santiago.

Jerusalem said the CHO also provided social hygiene services in these barangays as part of the DOH’s relentless campaign against HIV and AIDS.

The weeklong activity culminated on Friday with a candle lighting ceremony in support of the 32nd International AIDS Candlelight Memorial at the Taclobo Stage, Plaza Luz here in the city, giving respect and honor to those who died due to AIDS.

Various advocates led by the DOH and CHO attended the event to give hope to those who are suffering from the disease and to remember the victims.

City Health Officer Dr. Noel Ceniza said the CHO had observed the HIV/AIDS candlelight memorial, as Pagadian City has already an HIV/AIDS victim.

“This ceremony is fitting because we have an HIV/AIDS victim who died of the dreaded disease and we have several cases of HIV positive here,” Ceniza announced.

Ceniza said the HIV problem in our country could not be resolved if we would not intensify our HIV prevention efforts. “HIV transmission rates will continue to rise if we do not act decisively,” he stressed.

Ceniza said with the DOH’s launching of the free HIV testing, persons who are suffering from the disease can be easily diagnosed and be treated to prolong their lives.

Meanwhile, Clarissa Jose, regional HIV/STD coordinator in her message said one should avoid having a risk behavior adding that there is no cure for HIV.

“There is no cure or vaccine to prevent HIV.  The only way people can prevent infection from the virus is to avoid high-risk behaviors putting them at risk of infection, such as having unprotected sex or sharing needles,” Jose explained.

Jose was very happy to see the people in the said barangays actively support the campaign.

“I am very happy to see people from these barangays for actively participated in the free HIV testing. In fact, lot of them underwent the testing to know whether they are HIV positive or negative,” Jose concluded.