As an alarming rate in the increasing number of AIDS-HIV cases in the country is left unnoticed, members of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity of University of the Philippines-Manila staged an awareness campaign in their traditional annual Oblation Run.
Members of the APO fraternity held their traditional naked run around the campus while holding placards calling for efforts to tackle and address the alarming growing sexual-social problem.
“We all have a role to play in properly educating the public about HIV/AIDS. First and foremost, we must break the stigma surrounding sex and reproductive health and the stigma on people living with HIV/AIDS,” the group said.
“HIV/AIDS is a persistent threat to our communities, especially to the youth who make up the majority of newly diagnosed cases.”
“In July 2019 alone, 1,100 new cases were recorded by the Department of Health. Almost 20 percent of the new cases have an advanced stage of HIV infection or AIDS,” the organizers added.
The United Nations Program on HIV-AIDS (UNAIDS) projected that there will probably be more or less 201,000 HIV cases in the Philippines by 2025 if the current rate is not controlled.
“UNAIDS considers the HIV/AIDS situation in the country as the fastest-growing epidemic in the world,” noted the fraternity.
HIV screening booths were also set up at the UP Manila campus during the run in connection with the APO fraternity’s awareness campaign.
The yearly Oblation Run, which was officially called the Ritual Dance of the Brave, is a tradition that started by APO in UP Diliman in 1977 as a form of dissent and expression of protest against martial law.
It should be noted that based on recent studies, 35 Filipinos test positive for HIV every day – a sudden increase compared to previous years which was just one per day.
The studies have discovered advance stages of infected individuals who may have infected countless others before their testing.
Studies have also noted that unlike in the previous decades, the lack of consistent and serious awareness programs may have contributed to the lack of caution and restraint for the younger generation caught unaware that the dangers of being infected are real and still out there.
Some recommendations to prevent infection include abstinence and taking proper precautions as the best protection from the whole a lot of pain and heartaches.
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