“Physical healing may not be possible for us people living with HIV, but there could be spiritual healing. There is no cure for HIV but with proper care and treatment, pwede pong humaba ang buhay ng isang taong may HIV. Kailangan lang ng healthy lifestyle at awareness. Huwag mag-alinlangang magpa-check.”
Thus said, Richard Reyes, in his testimony as one of the speakers during the University-wide awareness forum was held yesterday, December 6, at the Finster Auditorium, centering on the theme, “Ending AIDS Together.”
In line with the celebration of the World AIDS Day last December 1, the event was sponsored by the collaborative effort of Davao City AIDS Council, Philippine Nursing Students Association, Philippine Red Cross- Davao Chapter, AdDU SAMAHAN, and the Natural Sciences Cluster Executive Council.
Patrick D. Albit, RN, MAN of the City’s Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) lead the discussion. He highlighted the difference between the terms STDs and STIs. According to Albit, the term STD (sexually-transmitted diseases) was replaced by the term, sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) to avoid discrimination and wrong understanding of such diseases.
“While others may translate the word disease to forever sickness, we should take note that an HIV case is not really exactly the same. Early stages of HIV are generally asymptotic. In the first three years, one may not notice any symptoms,” Albit said.
Symptoms and treatment for other types of sexually transmitted infections, such as Gonorrhea, Herpes, Syphilis and many others were also described during the talk. Moreover, the said speaker reviewed the different modes of HIV transmission and clarified false beliefs about the transfer of the virus.
“We only need to remember SMB- Sex, Mother-to-Child and Blood-to-Blood. Yung mga sinasabi ng iba na napapasa ang HIV sa manicure/pedicure or mosquitoes ay hindi po totoo. We need to really know the truth about HIV-AIDS before we discriminate others,” Albit stressed.
“Maliban po sa education and early detection, ang pinakamabisang paraan talaga to prevent the spread of HIV is abstinence. Matutong humindi at maghintay. Kung hindi talaga kaya, please stay safe,” he added.
Janna Magbanua, Ateneo Libulan Circle president shared how significant the forum was. She was thankful to the organizers of the said event.
“It is one way to enlighten our students about HIV because it is really an issue today in our society which needs to be thoroughly educated to all. As a Libulan, we are very much thankful to our school and the sponsors of this event for organizing this kind of activity. This serves as a good avenue for us to understand and comprehend what really is the difference between HIV and AIDS and how we could prevent the spread of such,” Magbanua stated.