Vigan pushes for HIV-Aids free city

World AIDS Day

VIGAN CITY – With the rising number of HIV/AIDS cases in this city, the city government conducted its 2nd HIV/AIDS Summit to push for zero case of the disease.

“Vigan City has the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the province of Ilocos Sur,” Dr Loida Ranches, City Health Officer said. Those affected with the disease are from the ages of 25-35, and 15-24. And it is transmitted through sexual intercourse.

As the number of cases in the city went up to 27 from 20 last year, Ranches added, the city government continues to educate people until everyone is enlightened and the labeling of names to those affected is erased.

The summit also seeks to transform the participants to become warriors in the fight against the disease, spreading the information to families and friends.

“We continue our HIV-Aids awareness and trainings to the youth and all residents of the city. We don’t teach the youth to have sex but we’re giving them a chance to know the consequences of what they’re doing and at the same time to give them proper health services in case they are in trouble,” Mayor Juan Carlo Medina said.

Today the city has an adolescent health hub where the youth can go freely Monday to Sunday for counselling on pregnancy, HIV-Aids, and other critical concerns.

“We are pushing further Mayor Medina’s program for greater awareness of the disease among residents,” said Swil Baniaga, president of Ilocos Sur LGBT. “People tend to believe that it’s a disease of the LGBT because they know little of this disease.”

Dr. Jonathan Portilla of the Department of Health reminded the summit participants to follow the ABCDE of preventing the transmission of HIV/AIDS:

  1. Abstinence means no sex outside marriage.
  2. Be faithful with one partner.
  3. Use Condom, highly effective in preventing HIV transmission.
  4. Do not use Drugs. Cases of transmission of HIV is also rampant among illegal drug users who use injections.
  5. Equipment must be sterilized or used only once. Tattoo or acupuncture needles must be sterilized, and disposable needles must be used only once.

Part of the summit is sharing of life story of two HIV-Aids patients who have been living with the disease for eight and ten years now, and poster and slogan contest to help the students express their views on the disease.

HIV is the virus that attacks the immune system, while AIDS refers to a set of symptoms and illnesses that occur at the very final stage of HIV infection.

This year’s HIV/AIDS Summit was attended by members of the LGBTQ community in the province, Barangay Health Workers, the academe, high school and college students, and medical staff of Ilocos Sur Provincial Hospital Gabriela Silang on December 4, 2018 at the Vigan City Convention Center. (JND / Imelda C Rivero – PIA1 Ilocos Sur)

Photo: stock photo by TNM.