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Northern Samar PLGU holds forum on HIV/AIDS for World AIDS Day

Northern Samar PLGU holds forum on HIV/AIDS for World AIDS Day

The provincial government of Northern Samar conducted a forum to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS and support those living with the disease. Photo: Northern Samar PLGU

TACLOBAN CITY – Northern Samar's provincial government, through its Provincial Health Office STI/HIV AIDS Prevention and Control program and Provincial Gender and Development Focal Point System, recently initiated and held a forum on human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) in conjunction with World AIDS Day 2023, which is observed every first day of December.

The forum, which was held at the provincial capitol, aimed to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, commemorate those who lost their lives, support those individuals living with the disease, promote more efforts on prevention, and advocate for policy change. The forum also featured the testimonies of some people living with HIV, who shared their experiences and encouraged others to undergo HIV testing and treatment.

According to Jeane Pelayo, the Provincial STI/HIV-AIDS prevention and control program manager, disclosed in a report that from 2015 to October 2023, 204 people were living with HIV in the province. She said that the source of infection mainly came from Metro Manila, with 47%, and that the affected are predominantly male (91%) and in the age group of 25-34 years old. 

Pelayo said that the provincial government has been conducting various activities to address the province's HIV/AIDS situation, such as facilitating HIV testing, holding AIDS candlelight memorials, organizing Municipal AIDS Councils, conducting HIV AIDS awareness to Health Care Workers and Barangay SK Chairpersons, and appearing on radio programs to spread massive information and awareness.

Northern Samar Governor Edwin Ongchuan, who attended the forum, emphasized the importance of raising awareness and educating people about the disease to eliminate its associated stigma. He also expressed his support for people living with HIV and urged them to take advantage of the provincial government's services and programs.

The theme for World AIDS Day 2023 is "Let Communities Lead; Empowering Communities to Lead in the HIV/AIDS Response." The theme emphasizes the community's role in responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and ensuring that no one is left behind. —iTacloban

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