International AIDS Candlelight Memorial

With the theme: “Promoting Health and Dignity Together”, the Department of Health Region 6 led by its dynamic Regional Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)/HIV/AIDS Coordinator, Ms. Charity Y. Perea and other officials of DOH, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of the Iloilo City Government and the different sectors of the public including offices and organizations joined hands in conducting the Annual AIDS Candlelight Memorial held at Freedom Grandstand, Iloilo City. The activity kicked-off with a mass celebrated at the San Jose Parish followed by a foot parade with the participation of some funeral cars in the city.

The headturners in the photos below joined this activity for the first time and were the funeral cars decorated with some flowers and balloons with some health messages regarding the prevention of the disease.

Aside from the candle lighting ceremony and the testimonial of a person living life positively with HIV, one of the most notable participation during the program were the dance numbers rendered by some commercial u-know-what-I-mean workers from After 5 & Paraiso night clubs. Though for some, it may have disturbed the solemnity of the ceremony and entertaining for more of the audience, for me the bottom line of their participation in the event meant more than what can be easily said at that point. It is for us to understand and appreciate that not only did they reveal their work for a living but it’s their way of showing to the public that they are one with the DOH in promoting the further prevention of  the HIV virus spread. 
Mayor Mabilog  challenged everyone to be cautious with our actions. Know the consequences that may arise from not practicing safe sex and doing it with more that many partners. He further added that having a monogamous relationship is one factor that can greatly prevent someone from the occurrence of the disease. Well, much has been said by a number of people about AIDS, but the bottom line was, “KNOW YOUR STATUS”. 

The Western Visayas Medical Center in Mandurriao, Iloilo City has the HACT (HIV/AIDS Core Team) office that caters to the public by giving lectures on how to prevent the infection, conducting HIV testing and giving help and hope as inspiration and on how to deal and cope with life for a person who is diagnosed to be a positive carrier of the disease. For inquiries, call them at (033)3210552.