In line with the observance of World AIDS Day (WAD) on December 1, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) joined the whole world in commemorating the event with this year’s theme "My Health, My Right”.
The PRCled by its Health Services departmenttogether with the PRC Quezon City Chapter, conducted interactive activities and dissemination drive aboutHuman Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), held at the Quezon City Hall Covered Walk.
Red Cross Youth and people from all walks of life participated in the event and enjoyed six interactive booths including free HIV testing facilitated by Klinika Bernardo.
“As one of the health advocates in the country, PRC continues its mission to halt the spread of HIV and AIDS by raising public awareness. For this year’s campaign, the Red Cross focuses on the right to health of those people living with HIV (PLHIVs) to effectively prevent the illness or gain access to treatment and care, particularly the process of how to get tested,” said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon.
Some PLHIV advocates from different groups and organizations also graced the event. They shared their heartfelt stories not only on how to halt the spread of the disease itself, but as well as the stigma and discrimination attaches to them among communities and workplaces.
To reach out greater community, the PRC has also increased their efforts in educating the public about HIV/AIDS through social media.
In addition, all PRC Chapters nationwide also lined up different activities and events in observance of WAD such as dissemination, parade, balloon flying, and short role plays or skits.
This year’s WAD is part of the PRC’s HIV and Substance Abuse Prevention (HASAP) projectunder the 143 on 143: 20 days of Advocacy Campaign, which is supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
HIV is a viral infection that attacks and slowly destroys the immune system of the infected person that leads to AIDS, according to the Department of Health (DOH). As of May 2017, a total of 44,010 cases were recorded in the Philippines since the first case of HIV was diagnosed in January 1984.
According to the 2016 data from UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS), roughly 36.7 million people have become infected with HIV, and a total of 1 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic globally.
WAD is celebrated annually every 1st of December to remember those who died because of the disease, show support for PLHIV and to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS prevention.
To know more about PRC’s campaign on HIV and AIDS, you may visit the website at www.redcrosds.org.ph or like @phredcross for Facebook and @philredcross for Twitter and Instagram.