Saturday, December 1, 2012

Information -
The Key to an AIDS-Free Nation

December is here. Before we become excited for the coming holiday season, before we hang green wreaths and garlands with golden ornaments and red ribbons. Let us take a piece of red ribbon and make a single loop and pin it on our shirt because today is World AIDS Day.

I'm writing this post as my little contribution to the advocacy for AIDS awareness and the fight to stop the spread of the nasty virus that causes it. Do you know what's really un-pretty? Our country is among 7 countries where HIV cases are increasing - soaring by more than 25 percent this year. And the countries on the list are not even our neighbors.

This increase is very much a testimony of the lack of public education. Also, in a predominantly Catholic country such as ours, the widespread of a sexually transmitted disease is a testimony of the disregard of Catholic teachings against premarital and extramarital sex. And while the RH Bill is still being suppressed by a group who think that this epidemic can simply be contained by telling (stuborn) people to be abstinent, not only  HIV cases will continue to increase but irresponsible impregnations as well.

If this goes on, soon every Filipino will have somebody they know that has HIV. Just this year I knew 2 people who died of complications and I have a dear friend who has been living with HIV since 2007. This friend of mine, who has been a volunteer for HIV prevention and awareness and providing moral support to  infected people, told me even more un-pretty things. Stories of patients as young as 17, deaths because of late diagnosis, and suicides caused by severe depression. One of the saddest stories he told me was of one who was disowned by his family. And they even burned his personal belongings out of fear or being infected too. Imagine! Not only do victims have to fight to stay healthy but they also have to fight the stigma. And this stigma again is a testimony of the lack of public education about HIV.

And so I call out to my Pinoy readers whether you are single or married, gay or straight: The increase of infection cases is a serious matter - it affects us all. Take the time to know about HIV. Understand how it can be contracted and  prevented. Help fight the spread of the disease and the stigma. Remind the people you care about, especially those whose lifestyle put themselves at risk, to practice preventive measures.

And to the HIV+ people: Life is indeed beautiful and fragile. Stay happy and strong! Keep that positive attitude. Value your health. Help is available! You too can contribute in making an AIDS-free nation!

3 comments:

  1. casual and unsafe sex is very prevalent among the younger generation. AIDS cases has risen significantly in Region XII. the first step should be having an open-mind about this. then educate yourself about AIDS and get an AIDS test. it's free in some areas thru the health services of the LGU. thank you for this post. am sharing this in my FB timeline and twitter account.

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  2. Hi Orman! Thank you for that data. You are correct. We all must take the initiative to educate ourselves and most importantly, especially if one is sexually active, he or she must take responsibility to get tested.

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