PALO, Leyte -- The Department of Health in Eastern Visayas, through its Communicable Disease Unit, celebrated the 2022 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, remembering those who have died from the disease and honoring those who dedicated their lives to helping people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, at the Summit Hotel, Tacloban City on May 17-18.
With this year’s theme, “Keeping the light, honoring our right, radiating people,” the program started with a message of support from Dr. Glendine Porteza, CDU unit head, highlighting the objectives of the gathering towards a strengthened HIV/AIDS advocacy in the region.
Analiza Balila, NASPCP program manager, also presented the HIV/AIDS Situation in Eastern Visayas followed by the sharing of experience, best practices, accomplishments, and ways forward of Mr. Eduard Estroso, HIV/AIDS counseling and testing nurse of the Biliran Provincial Hospital.
As one highlight of this year’s IACM, three People Living with HIV (PLHIV), graced the event bravely sharing to all who attended the different stages they went through upon discovery of their condition including their experiences, struggles, realizations, and triumphs against the disease. This is part of the program’s aim to promote, respect, and uphold the dignity of persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Exuperia B. Sabalberino, DOH-8 regional director, also acknowledged the inspiration brought by the testimonies shared by the PLHIVs and the importance of mobilizing the government, private sector, development partners and affected communities for meaningful participation and foster solidarity between and among them, among others.
After presentations made by Dr. John Ezekiel Valera, representatives from DSWD and DepEd, Dr. Ludina Insigne, NASPCP medical coordinator, delivered the DOH regional response regarding HIV/AIDS.
Sabalberino led the candlelighting ceremony and prayer with the symbolic red ribbon, an emblem of the battle against HIV and AIDS, to commemorate those we have lost to the disease.
The event was also participated by provincial and city coordinators, HACT nurses of the different medical facilities in the region, representatives from other partner agencies, and support staff from DOH-8. (DOH-8)