BALANGA CITY, Bataan – Out of the 81 provinces in the country, Bataan was chosen to host the 35th celebration of the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, with the theme, “Reflecting on our Past, Preparing for our Future.”
According to Joseph Michael Manlutac, Region III HIV nurse coordinator and Jana Magpoc, PHO- Bataan HIV nurse coordinator in an interview aired live over the program Morning Connections on Poweradio last Thursday, every year in the month of May around the world, those who died of HIV or AIDS are commemorated to create an awareness for everybody to protect themselves against the said disease.
This year’s celebration, will start with a motorcade through the city in the morning to be participated in by 11 municipalities and one city with their floats while the main program will commence in the afternoon, 4pm at the People’s Center with Governor Abet Garcia and Congresswoman Geraldine Roman as guest speakers to around 1k participants from the different provinces of the country.
JM Manlutac said that there are around 37 million reported cases of HIV around the world, 52,000 of these in the Philippines, 4,690 in Central Luzon and 299 in the province of Bataan; with all the 11 municipalities and the city of Balanga to have reported cases of which 79% of these as from ages 15-34 and mostly males and LGBT individuals.
Jana Magpoc added that many people who suspect themselves to have been infected, hide and shy away from people not knowing that the disease is not communicable unless they engage in sexual intercourse with those infected, have been injected with infected syringe and have relationship with “high “risks behaviour.”
To avoid these, according to the 2 HIV nurse coordinators, if they suspect themselves to be infected, all they need to do is call Bataan PHO hotline – 237 3270 for them to get help, all the treatment and counseling are given free and cases will be handled with confidentiality.
Manlutac also added that to get the best protection, always remember the A, B, C, D, and E of their program; A is for Abstinence, B – Be faithful with one partner, C – Consistency on the use of condom, D – Do not engage in drugs and E – for Education. He said that all people need to know and be aware of AIDS or HIV to protect themselves and that early detection will keep them alive and normal.