DOH-CAR launches LHIVE Free campaign to stop HIV/AIDS

BAGUIO CITY — The Department of Health–Cordillera launched a new campaign to put a stop to the increasing number of individuals affected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
DOH-Cordillera OIC Regional Director Dr. Amelita Pangilinan and Mary Joy Morin of the DOH Central Office National AIDS & STI Prevention and Control Program led the launching of the “LHIVE- Free” campaign during the awarding of the academic and skills competition on HIV/AIDS Awareness and the search for the Reyna di Cordillera as HIV and AIDS Advocacy Ambassadors in Baguio City recently.
Morin said the LHIVE- Free campaign aims to encourage the key population at risk for HIV such as males having sex with males to get tested, seek treatment if they have HIV, be educated and live a worry-free life.
The LHIVE- Free campaign will also reach out to partners who will serve as enablers and support groups, hence the word FREE means F for family and friends, R is for religious and political leaders, E is for educators and media, and the last E is for employers and the community.
“We are confronted with seriously worsening concern on HIV,” Morin said citing the 32 new HIV cases per day.
“We are the highest in the rate of increase of HIV in the Asia Pacific Region. Persons at risk for HIV are afraid or shy away from getting and HIV test. There is an extremely low level of knowledge on HIV, especially the modes of transmission and ways of prevention, even among those who already engage in risky sexual behaviors. The use of condoms among those who engage in anal sex is also very low. There are persons who are already HIV positive and still decide to delay treatment,” she said.
In Baguio City, 33 new cases of HIV and AIDS were recorded in Baguio City from January to August this year, the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health (DOH) has reported. This brings to 307 the total number of HIV/AIDS cases in the city since monitoring started in 1984.
Cordillera statistics show that there are a total of 457 HIV/AIDS cases from 1984 to August 2018. Benguet has 54 cases; Abra, 50; Kalinga, 13; Ifugao, 12; Apayao, 11; and Mountain Province, 10. A total of 61 new cases were recorded from January-July in the region.
“Let us continue to work together so we can witness a generation where people with HIV can live free of fear, stigma and discrimination from the rest of the population,” Morin said.
Meanwhile, Pangilinan said the awarding of the academic and skills competition on HIV/AIDS Awareness and the selection and coronation of the Reyna di Cordillera as HIV and AIDS Advocacy Ambassadors were among the activities to kick off the LHIVE Free campaign.
For the Quiz Bee contest, Kings College of the Philippines won first place; Saint Louis Pacdal, second and the Cordillera Career Development College at third place.
For the Best in the Information, Education, Communication Campaign Corner, Happy Hallow National High School was first; Saint Louis University Junior High School, second, and Pines City National High School, third.
For the Spoken Words Poetry contest, Maria Teresa Serrano from Pines City National High School won first place; Christine Dodon from Happy Hallow National High School at second, and Raymart Aaron Flores from the University of Baguio at third place.
For the photography contest, May Ann Binay-an of Happy Hallow snatched first place, Lance Oneil and Charlie Palpag, both of SLU, landed in second and third place, respectively.
The DOH-CAR also crowned Kyra Antonio as the first Reyna Di Cordillera with Jers Sabado as the 1st runner up; Miki Seto Lam, 2nd runner up; Trexy Guzman, 3rd runner up, and Althea Latuhan, 4th runner up.
Pangilinan said the winners will be the “LHIVE Free Redvocates” who would be HIV and AIDS Advocacy Ambassadors. from the LGBTQ community together with their male and female counterparts.
In the national level, the DOH has chosen Ms. International 2016, Cordillera’s very own Kylie Versoza, as the lead ambassador of the LHIVE Free campaign. The DOH believes that beyond her beautiful face, she has one powerful voice that can help dispel fear, anxiety, depression and the stigma on HIV. **JDP/RMC- PIA CAR

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