In commemoration of those who fought and are continuously fighting HIV/AIDS across the globe, Bagani by LoveYourself, a community center advocating for HIV/AIDS awareness in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, held a torch-lighting ceremony at the CICM Maryshore in Talisay City recently.
This year’s memorial centered on “U” that embodies the commitment of everyone to be the light, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Whether you are PLHIV or people living with HIV, or an advocate, you can be the torch that lights the way for those who need it the most, and serve as model for healthier life habits, may it be physical, mental, or emotional,” the group said in a press statement furnished the Daily STAR.
It added that based on the February 2021 HIV/AIDS and Art Registry of the Philippines, there were 855 confirmed HIV-positive individuals reported, with 84,610 reported cases since January 1984.
Ninety-four percent or 804 of the reported cases were male. Half of the cases at 428 were 25-34 years old at the time of diagnosis, 30 percent (261) were 15-25 years old, 17 percent (142) were 35-49 years old, 2 percent (17) were 50 years old and older, and 1 percent (7) were less than 15 years old, the press release said.
The regions with the most number of newly reported cases were NCR with 269 (31 percent), Region 4A Calabarzon with 170 (20 percent), and Western Visayas with 115 cases (13 percent).
With the pandemic posing a significant barrier to access, the DOH and local government partners are collaborating to ensure continuous HIV prevention, monitoring, treatment, care, and support services for key communities with prioritized needs through its social hygiene clinics, public and private HIV treatment facilities, community-based organizations, and advocacy groups.
Bagani by LoveYourself will continue its commitment to bring its services to Bacolodnons and Negrenses, and is providing free HIV screening and health education caravan. For more details, those interested may contact the group at www.facebook.com/BaganiBCD.*