Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Olongapo residents march for heightened AIDS awareness, prevention

OLONGAPO CITY - Students, elders and other sectors here paraded around the area Tuesday afternoon bearing banners calling for an end to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

This parade jumpstarted Olongapo City's commemoration of the 20th World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

Commemoration this year carried the theme 'Stop AIDS… Keep the Promise.'

This promise covers United Nations (UN) member-countries' commitments on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention as well as provision of care, support and human rights protection for victims of this malaise.

"We'll do all possible control measures to help stop this disease," Olongapo City health chief Dr. Arnildo Tamayo said later that day during a program at the city's Rizal Triangle covered court where the parade ended.

He noted the city already established an AIDS hotline, aside from implementing prevention seminars and other measures to address the matter.

Authorities organized the parade to help further raise awareness and prevention of AIDS, the deadly scourge covering a collection of symptoms and infections associated with acquired deficiency of the body's immune system.

Experts identified human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as underlying cause of AIDS which continues to elude cure.

HIV can be transmitted either through unprotected vaginal and anal sex, sharing needles and syringes, blood transfusion and mother-to-child transmission.

UN Programme on HIV/AIDS continues advocating public awareness of and protection against the disease as reports indicate its incidence is rising nationwide.

Olongapo City officials are also boosting efforts to stop the disease from spreading further .

"Department of Health-National Epidemiology Center reported 27 new HIV cases in September 2008 - a 128 percent increase from levels the year earlier," warned Angelito Baloi, Olongapo City Association of Barangay Captains president and head of Olongapo City AIDS Council.

During the program, he reported the September count pushed to 395 this year's total number of reported HIV cases nationwide.

"The Philippines is still a low-prevalence country for HIV/AIDS but there's still no cure for this disease so prevention is still the best weapon we have against it," he said.

Medicine is now available for slowing down the spread of HIV inside the body but such still can't totally cure AIDS. (PNA)

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