SAN FERNANDO CITY, Dec. 3 (PIA) - - Hundreds of residents, local officials, students, and stakeholders joined the kick-off activities initiated by the city government of San Fernando, La Union in observance of the World AIDS Day on Sunday here.
This year's celebration is anchored on the theme: "communities make the difference."
Among the highlights of the local WAD celebration here include the red color run, Eucharistic celebration, community-based HIV screening and red torch parade.
Dr. Arman S. Carrera, the acting city health officer of the local government of San Fernando City, said the city government of San Fernando, La Union had been celebrating WAD for more than a decade now.
"For me, the WAD is a golden opportunity and time to celebrate our diversity and our shared progress in the global fight against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) disease," he said.
According to Carrera, the WAD is also a time for every Filipino to think for a better solution to counter the increasing number of HIV-AIDS cases in Region 1.
Based on the data of he Department of Health (DOH), there are 1,351 reported HIV/AIDS cases in Region 1 from 1984 to December 2018. Most of the HIV/AIDS infected residents in the region are males with a total of 1,209 and 142 females. The majority age of the HIV-AIDS affected people in the region is ranging from 25-34 years old.
He cited that the communities play a vital role in minimizing, if not eliminating the HIV-AIDS disease.
"The World AIDS Day offers an important platform to highlight the role of communities in eliminating the HIV-AIDS disease," he said.
He appealed to the people in the community to cease the stigma or discrimination for those people who have been diagnosed with HIV.
"At it's extreme, stigma can drive people to physical violence. People living with HIV often feel nervous about telling others that they have HIV due to the fear of stigma or discrimination, which is very unjust to our people. They might be infected with the disease but still, they are part of our community," said Carrera.
For his part, San Fernando City Mayor Hermenegildo A. Gualberto joined the call on removing the discrimination over the person who had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDs disease.
"We need to remove this discrimination; let us do our share for the massive eradication of the HIV/AIDS and let us build a city with no one left behind," said Mayor Gualberto. (JCR/FGL, PIA1)