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Group pushes for HIV awareness

By: Intern December 04,2015 - 01:08 AM

Run to be held Dec. 5 in commemoration of World AIDS Day

Cebu City ranked number one in terms of prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) among all cities in the Philippines as of last June, according to the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7).

To address this issue, the Cebuplus Association Inc. (CPAI), a nonprofit support group organized by concerned individuals in Cebu, has been conducting activities to promote HIV awareness.

Reyven Dinopol, peer educator of CPAI, said an outreach program was conducted in various barangays and schools in Cebu City.

The group went to barangays Hipodromo and Lorega in Cebu City and Hagnaya in northern Cebu to conduct an orientation and provide free condoms and HIV testing to participants.

They also conducted an HIV lecture at the Lambusan National School and Tambungon Integrated School in San Remigio town, northern Cebu.

“So far, the response of the people was overwhelming. Most of the participants are interested to undergo HIV testing. The testing is conducted by competent advocates and will be administered by our resident medical technologist. We keep the result confidential,” he added.

“There are 20 registered volunteers in the organization who were trained to assist in the HIV outreach program. An orientation was also conducted for those interested to become a peer educator,” Dinopol said.

Arnie Montes and Wilky Bangayan, peer educators, said they are aware of the growing number of cases of HIV in Cebu City and by volunteering in the organization is one way of helping the community prevent HIV.

They added that the experience they gained from the outreach program was fulfilling.

“The main problem now is that most people are afraid and hesitant to get tested. We wanted to break this mentality. Instead of people going to the organization, we will be the one to reach out for them to be tested. If you think that you are sexually active, CPAI is more than willing to assist you. There will be a peer counseling. Whether you are HIV positive or not, we highly value the confidentiality of the result,” an officer of CPAI said.

The World AIDS Day is held every December 1.

This year’s observance had the theme “Getting to Zero,” which means zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, zero AIDS related deaths.

It is an opportunity for the people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died of HIV.

In observance of World AIDS Day, a World AIDS Day Run Cebu will be conducted by CPAI in partnership with the DOH 7 on Dec. 5 at 4 a.m. at Parkmall grounds in Mandaue City.

“The activity will not be only limited to Cebu City but to be expanded across other cities in the Philippines like Tagbilaran City, Dumaguete City and Cagayan de Oro as well. With a lot of support from the government and non-government organizations, the event is expected to gather more than 4,000 people,” Balingit said.

To register, visit facebook.com/WorldAIDSDayRun. /UP Cebu MassCom student Julius Ranoa

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TAGS: Central Visayas, Department of Health, Human Immunodeficiency Virus

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