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PIA Press Release

Candlelight memorial ceremony remembers victims of HIV/AIDS

By Gay B. Gaspay

Tacloban City (7 December) -- To keep people aware of the existence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) which slowly kills hundreds and thousands of people worldwide, the Candlelight Memorial Ceremony held at Balyuan Park on the first day of December commemorates the World Aids Day celebration which was celebrated in the entire country and globally in honor of the HIV/AIDS victims who passed away.

The candlelight memorial ceremony is one of the lined-up awareness information campaign activities spearheaded by the Leyte Family Development Organization (LEFADO) in cooperation with the City Government and the Department of Health (DOH) regional office 8 intended for Eastern Visayas populace that HIV/AIDS is already in existence in our region.

During the Express It At The Park press conference held recently at Leyte Park Hotel, DOH-8 HIV/AIDS focal person and Regional Nurse Boyd Cerro revealed that the 1986 to present statistic shows that Eastern Visayas has 18 cases of HIV positive patients. Of the 18 cases (6) six cases progressed to full blown AIDS and four among the six already died.

As to the whereabouts and names of the patient, Mr. Cerro silently smiled for according to him identity of HIV/AIDS patients are protected under the Philippine Aids Law, Republic Act No. 8504.

Because of this law, the people do not know who are afflicted of this illness. So, they are advised to refrain from indulging sexual acts with multiple partners, a stick to one and be faithful to ones partner is a must. Otherwise you will be at risk in contacting the disease, he added. Sexual contact with infected person, blood infected transfusion, needle sharing and infected mother to child are among those mentioned methods of transmission.

On the other hand, LEFADO Executive Director Betty Garrido, who was also one of the guest during the presscon emphasized the importance of educating the population in order to protect themselves from this life threatening disease.

The spread of the disease can be attributed to the lack of educational know how and the sexual and behavioral lifestyle of the people. Remember, she added that there is no vaccine to prevent HIV infection and no cure for AIDS. Avoid behaviors that allows HIV infected fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions & breast milk from entering your body.

With its theme "STOP AIDS, KEEP THE PROMISE", aiming to stop AIDS by year 2015 is part of the Millinium Development Goal on AIDS, which nations, communities and individuals promised and made, committing themselves of eradicating the illness. The Philippines is also committed to stop AIDS in the country.

A Walk for A Cause earlier that December first afternoon in which nearly a hundred commercial entertainers, establishment owners, cause oriented groups, the target client the Most At Risk Population (MARP), religious groups, media practitioners, non-government and government organizations marched the streets of Tacloban City with posters and streamers STOP AIDS on their hands and red ribbons on their chest.

AIDS is a chronic, life threatening condition caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), by damaging or destroying your immune system. HIV interferes with our body's ability to effectively fight off viruses, bacteria and fungi.. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is used to mean the latter stages of HIV infection.

Early symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, swollen lymph glands and rash. A person is symptom free for eight to nine years, as virus continues to multiply and destroy immune cells mild to chronic symptoms develop such as diarrhea, weight loss, cough and shortness of breath. The last phase of HIV, 10 years or more after the initial infection, more serious symptoms begin to appear, and the infection may then meet the official definition of AIDS, full blown AIDS symptoms such as soaking night sweats, shaking chills or fever higher than 100 F for several weeks, dry cough & shortness of breath, chronic diarrhea, persistent white spots or unusual lesions on your tongue & mouth, headaches, blurred & distorted visions, weight loss and persistent fatigue. (PIA) [top]

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