Zambo City reaffirms fight vs AIDS PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 18 May 2012 15:06

Multi-sectoral groups in the city on Wednesday bonded together to affirm anew their united stand against HIV-AIDS, as they joined the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial in memory of those who died of the dreaded disease.

Mayor Celso Lobregat and City Health Officer Rodel Agbulos, chairman and chief executive officer respectively of the Zamboanga City Multisectoral AIDS Council (ZCMSAC) spearheaded the event which kicked off with a walk from the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex in Baliwasan to the boulevard where a brief program capped by the lighting of candles and the release of raft and sky lanterns.

Mayor Lobregat in his message reiterated the City’s all out efforts against HIV-AIDS through the different measures being undertaken to prevent and control the spread of the disease.

The chief executive led in the lighting of the candles and the release of the raft on sea symbolizing Zamboanga’s sympathy and continuous campaign to stop the spread of HIV-AIDS. He likewise thanked the different sectors for actively participating in the activity as well as supporting the City’s efforts against the disease.

Dr. Agbulos said worldwide there are about 33 million people infected with HIV-AIDS. Of the total number 25 million died of AIDS.

In the Philippines, a total of 9,163 cases of HIV-AIDS have been reported from 1984 to March 2012. Of the total number,  84% are males and 91% have acquired the disease through sexual transmission.  89% of the Philippine figure is asymptomatic, meaning, people are found positive of the virus but do not show signs or symptoms.

Based on records, Dr. Agbulos said, the Philippines registered the highest number of cases in the month of March 2012—thge highest so far in the history of the Philippines registry on HIV-AIDS with 313 cases only for the month of March.

Zamboanga City, according to Dr. Agbulos, is not exempted from the disease, as he reported a total of 44 cases, of which 11 died from 1995 to March 2012. Of the total 44 cases, 36 are males and 8 females.

Twenty three of the victims are overseas Filipino workers, Agbulos said. “We are very close to a country that has high registry of HIV-AIDS, which is Malaysia”. Of the total 23 OFW HIV-AIDS victims, 16 came from Malaysia. 

What is also very notable is the fact that a number of the victims are young students, Agbulos added. “This is the reason why we are tapping the youth sector to help us in our advocacy”.

The International AIDS Candlelight memorial started in 1983 and is originally held every third Sunday of May. It is the aim of the activity “to honor, support, and advocate for those who have been affected by the global HIV epidemic through mobilizing communities for a world where people do not die of AIDS and people living with HIV can live in health and with dignity.” — Sheila Covarrubias