Be careful with your date, warns HIV/AIDS awareness advocate

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 Feb) – Valentine’s Day is a “love yourself day,” an official of Davao City Aids Council (DCAC) told the people on Thursday, reminding them to stay faithful to their partners and always get themselves protected from HIV/AIDS infection.

Priscilla Senoc, health education officer of the Davao City Health Office, reminds lovers on the dangers of HIV/AIDS during a Valentine’s Day (14 February 2019) press briefing. MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV

“We do encourage people to consider, to think twice, a million times. On this day, there are dating, with your boyfriend… If you can, please use protection, protect yourself from HIV because it is fatal. You never know who among them are infected with HIV,” according to Priscilla Senoc, City Health Office Health Education Officer 3. She is also part of the secretariat of DCAC.

Senoc said people living with HIV show no signs of the infection.

Based on the HIV/AIDS & Art Registry of the Philippines of the Department of Health, there were 954 new reported cases of HIV in the Philippines in September 2019, bringing the total to 8,533 from January to September 2019.

The report said Davao Region, with 448 recorded cases from January to September 2018, has the fifth highest reported HIV/AIDS cases among 17 regions in the country.

The highest was recorded in the National Capital Region with 2,656. Calabarzon recorded 1,406; Central Luzon, 893; and Central Visayas, 747.

Senoc said the city has yet to release the full year report on HIV/AIDS cases.

She said that during Valentine’s Day, people would “think of sex immediately.”

“We are also advocating for Valentine’s Day to promote protection among the people,” Senoc said.

She said one way a person can get protected from the infection is to use condom.

Senoc also urged those who have risky sexual behavior to get themselves tested for HIV/AIDS because it is offered free by the local government.

She said HIV/AIDS awareness advocates will discuss with DCAC on the proposed measure making condoms more visible and accessible in establishments in the city, including hotels, inns, and even restaurants.

“In other countries, it’s very accessible. Even in parks, there are vendors for condoms. That could be one of the agenda that we are going to discuss, educating people about protection and use of condom as prevention,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)