June 20, 2024

The Baguio AIDS Watch Council reminded the importance of a unified effort in increasing awareness on HIV/AIDS as it remains a major health concern even in this time of the pandemic.

Baguio Assistant City Health Officer Celia Flor Brillantes reported during the AWAC-led forum that the Philippines has recorded 33 new cases of HIV per day from January to September this year. In 2020 the daily new cases was 22.  

Brillantes said based on the HIV/AIDS and Art Registry of the Philippines, there are 8,945 new HIV cases recorded in the country from January to September.

For Baguio City, the CHSO data show there are 102 HIV cases recorded from July 2017 to November this year.

“HIV is still within our midst, we have to work fast and do something about it before it becomes a real pandemic. Everyone, young or old, must be involved in spreading awareness that HIV is something that we need to be aware and be careful of,” Brillantes said.

The forum, moderated by AWAC president Marlene De Castro of the Baguio Center for Young Adults, also had representatives from the Department of Education, the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Myke Sotero and Pam Cariño representing civic society organizations, and Baguio Association of Bars and Entertainment Society president Allan Bandoy to share their program, services, and advocacies on HIV/AIDS.

Councilors Joel Alangsab and Levy Orcalles also joined the forum.

The forum was part of the Baguio AWAC-initiated activities for the observance of World AIDS Day, which for this year adopted the theme, “End inequalities, end AIDS” with a special focus on reaching people left behind.  

The Baguio AWAC also led the ribbon cutting of the photo exhibit at the city hall lobby with city government officials headed by Mayor Benjamin Magong and Rep. Mark Go with guest of honor, Vice President Leni Robredo.    

Baguio AWAC is a multi-sectoral group founded in 1987. It is recognized by the Department of Health as the first local AIDS Watch Council in the country that is continuously working with the city government on programs, services, and advocacy against HIV/AIDS. – Carlito C. Dar