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Student leaders in Iligan break the silent pandemic of HIV/AIDS

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ILIGAN CITY / 24 May 2022 – Despite being in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, the student leaders of Hinaplanon National High School (HNHS) Supreme Student Government, YES-O organization for science students, and some of the practice teachers from Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology and HNHS faculty actively participated in the HIV / AIDS Awareness Lecture and Workshop on May 20, 2022 at HNHS.

Froilan Jan S. Macapil, teacher and school nurse designate at HNHS.

The lecture and workshop were spearheaded by the school clinic in-charge of HNHS – Froilan Jan S. Macapil – and the Health Services Office of the Department of Education division of Iligan City during the HIV / AIDS awareness week.

The activity aimed to raise positive awareness about HIV and AIDS and break the social stigma of the people who are infected.

Macapil said HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus causes severe problems to a person’s immune system that compromises the infected person to be at high risk for other infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis, and candidiasis.

If left uncontrolled by supportive medication and proper lifestyle, HIV may lead to the late stage of the infection, which is AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

AIDS is already a life-threatening condition.

The most common ways HIV can be passed from one person to another are through unprotected sex and the use of infected needles in illegal drugs.

As of the moment, the infection has no cure yet, and once infected with HIV the person will carry it in his lifetime.

The participants.

Data from the Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau showed that there were 875 reported HIV-positive individuals in the country reported for the month of January 2022 alone, at an astonishing average of 28 infected persons per day. Since the DOH started recording HIV/AIDS cases in January 1984, there have been 95,212 cases reported.

Almost half of the cases reported in January – 426 persons or 49 percent – were in the 25-34 age range. Teenagers and those in their early 20s (15-24 age bracket) comprise 32 percent of the cases. There were even four cases of less than 15 years of age, the youngest at age one.

Macapil said the numbers are silently growing in Iligan, thus the need to raise awareness for prevention and control. The participants from HNHS were encouraged to proactively share the information as student leaders in the school and members of their own community.

Education is very vital to break the stigma in society by correcting common misconceptions which will pave the way to encourage people to seek early diagnosis and lifestyle modification, he added.

The lecture and workshop ended with a candle-lighting ceremony to remember those who passed away due to the infection and for those who are still fighting.

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