Yesterday, I attended a press conference hosted by Philippine Legislator’s Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) and the UNAIDS Philippines to Break Barriers and End the Trend. It was meant to continue this dialogue with the press to maintain the consistency of their reporting of the serious issue the country has with HIV and AIDS and to help push more awareness of the the lack of support we are getting from both the government and the citizens in helping curb this quickly rising of new HIV infection cases in the country.
Read more here: Breaking Barriers (Manila Standard Today)
Read more here: Ipasa na ang bagong HIV law (Noon Break Balita)
I’m hoping that the other articles will come out soon because we spoke a lot about the current difficulties of getting stronger reforms in the government sector and identified recurring issues and problems regarding the government response towards the HIV epidemic.
There’s a continuation of this press conference happening in Baguio today but I can’t make it because of work duties that’s keeping me in the city but I hope that it will be more comprehensive and that they tackle as much issues as they can to bring out as much information as they can on the steps we have to take to move forward.
I have been an HIV advocate for almost seven years now and while there’s a lot more information going on, there are a lot more people taking the test, and there are a lot more NGOs and civil groups working towards combatting the rise of HIV and AIDS cases in the country, there’s still a very large amount of people who don’t know even the basic information about HIV like how you get it, what it means, the difference between HIV and AIDS, and how to prevent it.
Right now, very powerful tools that we can use to help fix this problem has been in congress and the senate for a very long time now and the removal of very important sections of the newly enacted RH Law has crippled the efforts that we need to take to inform more and more people who are at risk.
The youth are the most at risk here and ultra-conservative values have blocked us from being able to educate them properly.
The advocacy is often-times frustrating and I’m glad that I do it when I’m asked and it’s not a full-time job for me. I feel that having a full life is more helpful in creating an image of a person living with HIV and how one can have the virus and still have a normal life. Hopefully, by being myself and living a full life, I can inspire more people to take the test and to become public about their HIV status so that it becomes a visible demographic that we can address and not a population in hiding.
Only 40$ (approximate number) of people living with HIV in the country are getting access to their medicine. Research has proven that adherence to ARV/ART medication can help decrease chances of new infections by as much as 97%. ARV/ART medication also saves lives as it has saved mine.
That 60% who are not accessing treatment are putting their health at risk and putting other people’s health at risk.
This has to stop and by eliminating stigma and discrimination, we might be able to get more people to take the test and to take their medication and lead normal lives.
The work is far from over. There’s still so much to do.