4H Club members enlightened on HIV

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) affect millions of people around the world. In support of HIV/AIDS awareness the ATI RTC 02 conducted an awareness campaign for the 4H members and other participants of the 5th Regional Summer Youth Camp.

HIV statistics shows that in February 2019 there were 1,013 total cases of HIV in the country, of which 968 are men and 45 are women.

Mr. Delson Balubar of Department of Health discussed the HIV/AIDS awareness during the camp. He discussed the STI or sexually transmitted infection wherein he elaborated how can someone get infected, its symptoms and the treatment. He said that untreated STI could lead to sterility, urethral stricture and infection that can damage the heart and brain. According to him, STI that are not given immediate and proper treatment can lead to HIV.

Moreover, he explained that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus causes AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome if not treated. According to him, HIV attacks the immune system, which makes a person weak after a long time of having the virus. The AIDS is a condition of the body that has no ability to fight all kind of diseases like Tuberculosis, Pulmonary disease and other diseases that can lead to death. HIV could be acquired through unprotected sexual intercourse, sharing of infected needles and infected blood products and Infected Mother to Child Transmission.

HIV has still no medicine; however there is Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARV) that can boost the immune system and can lessen the virus to the body. The ARV is free in the Philippines.

Along with Mr. Balubar is his friend “Michael” a Stigma Reduction Speaker and HIV Ambassador. HIV positive, who shared his experiences to the participants. According to him, HIV/AIDS has 4D Stages. These are denial, depression, discrimination, and death. However, with proper treatment and support from family and friends, these stages can be avoided, he said. At present, Michael is advocating HIV awareness among the youth. He uses various media for HIV/AIDS awareness. “HIV doesn’t define me, my strength and courage does,” he said. ###April Rose Gajeton-OJT