Despite the management and treatments available, the societal stigma related to HIV and AIDS keeps people from getting tested. In line with World AIDS Day, a mass HIV testing drive was held here in the province of Negros Occidental. Read more.
Mass HIV Testing in Celebration of World AIDS Day
Health-based NGO, Bagani Community Center commemorated World AIDS day through a province-wide HIV caravan and week-long HIV screening last December 4. Held at the SM City Bacolod, this event is in line with the World AIDS Day commemoration on Dec. 1. They are working with the theme “Ending HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice“.
Bagani Hub Manager Jose Antonio Lavaro said this commemoration is to show unity and support for people living with, and affected by, HIV. They also want to remember those who lost their lives to AIDS. “This is the day for global solidarity and shared responsibility to ensure quality and affordable healthcare for all. Let us all continue to fight to end the stigma,” he added.
The mass HIV testing drive is a province-wide HIV caravan that partners with all the local government units of Negros Occidental in creating mass HIV testing activities. Volunteers were mobilized to reach out to various communities so that everyone gets equal opportunities to receive HIV-related training, testing, and treatment. They have partnered with LGUs, youth organizations, and capable entities and individuals.
The week-long activity in SM City Bacolod from Dec. 4 includes free HIV screening at the East Bridgeway of the mall. Moreover, they are also holding online poster making and TikTok Video making contests.
Earlier, Bagani also partnered with the local governments of Murcia, Binalbagan, Pulupandan, and Escalante City to conduct HIV screening and education. The activity served more than 300 LGBT+ Negrenses who also availed of free condoms and lubricants. These are all supposed to encourage them to have safe intimate activity.
About Bagani Community Center
Bagani is the leading NGO in the province that advocates HIV awareness through community-based HIV screening and education. Furthermore, they help Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) to get free access to Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ARTs) and other HIV-related medications.
“As we commemorate World AIDS Day, let us remember the 40 million people whose lives were shortened by this epidemic,” Lavaro said. “Let us all be united in our fight against this condition for a better tomorrow.” Bagani offers free HIV screening in its center located at the NEDF Building, 6th Lacson Street, Brgy. 7, Bacolod City.
This year, the Bagani Community Center has paved the way for the testing of more than 4,000 Negrenses despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Bagani was also recently awarded as one of the two most innovative HIV centers in the Philippines. The award was bestowed by the Philippine-based HIV awareness organization, LoveYourself Inc., through its PRISMA Project.
Meanwhile, Bagani is also in the process to be the first organization in the region to open services on Transgender care and counseling in 2022.
- Contributed by Mark Raymund Garcia.