Tuesday, May 17, 2016

LoveYourself Observes first ever "AIDS Hour" in the Philippine AIDS Candlelight Memorial (PIACM)

The Philippines conducted the world’s first AIDS Hour last May 14, Saturday at the Liwasang Aurora of the Quezon City Memorial Circle. Starting 6 pm to  7 pm in the evening, people gathered to observe AIDS Hour as part of the 33rd International AIDS Candlelight Memorial (IACM), to remember those who have succumbed and passed on due to HIV/AIDS. The project is spearheaded by the Department of Health (DOH) in coordination with local government units.

This year, IACM was renamed to the Philippine International AIDS Candlelight Memorial (PIACM) to allude to local efforts addressing the HIV epidemic in the country. Latest data released by the Department of Health in the HIV/AIDS Registry of the Philippines (HARP) reveals a dramatic increase in the number of people infected over the same period last year and the year before. While 17 people were infected daily in 2014, the number has increased by almost 50% with 25 people being infected daily as of March 2016.

One of the highlights of the program was a pledge of commitment to end the stigma and shame associated with being infected by the virus, to increase awareness and educate the general public about the virus and the disease, and to encourage those who are living with the virus to actively seek treatment. LoveYourself volunteers were present in the venue to partake in the symbolic pledge and in other activities, including a photo booth. The Quezon Memorial was lit in various colors with slogans from the pledges to denote the diversity of organizations and people working for the cause of HIV, and unity through the all-encompassing pledge.

LoveYourself has been conducting awareness programs and free HIV screening services as part of its contributions to stave off the progress of the epidemic. Earlier this year, LoveYourself launched its NEX+ CHAP+ER program, a treatment and life coaching program for people living with HIV (PLHIV) as well as its “inaasikaso at inaalagaan” brand of service to expand the scope and improve the quality of its services. For more information about LoveYourself, please click here.

Photos by: Raybert Domingo