Is RP ready to fight AIDS?

Organizers said around 600 participants from the health sector, government, non-government organizations, private institutions and several agencies of the United Nations are expected to attend the gathering.

Among the topics for discussion include the performance of the country in fighting the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); and the initiatives taken ken to increase awareness on the HIV-AIDS problem.

Experts from government and civil society will share on topics such as management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), medical management of HIV and AIDS, and faith-based perspective on HIV and AIDS, among others.

A Davao-based AIDS prevention group will present local programs to prevent HIV and AIDS in Mindanao.

Based on a press release from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) circulated by the Philippine Information Office here, the first case of HIV in the Philippines was detected in 1984.

As of last June, over 2,500 cases have been officially reported.

But the Department of Health estimates more than 11,000 people are living with HIV in the Philippines.

In Davao City, there have been 17 documented cases of HIV and AIDS, eight of which had already succumbed to complications, the press release stated.

Lack of information on HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support, according to the UNICEF, had been blamed for the "hidden and growing" epidemic. It is also linked to the increasing number of young people acquiring sexually transmitted infections.

Manila-based officials from the Department of Health and United Nations organizations are expected to attend the convention

The Philippines is a signatory to the UN General Assembly Special Session Declaration on HIV/AIDS and the Millennium Development Goals on HIV/AIDS.

The event is organized by the AIDS Society of the Philippines in partnership with UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNFPA, WHO and the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC). (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)