The government is opening two new treatment hubs in remote areas in this city that would offer free Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) testing. Clarissa Jose, regional coordinator of the Department of Health HIV - Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) program, said Saturday the two new treatment hubs would be at the Labuan District Hospital and the Mindanao Central Sanitarium in Barangay Pasobolong. At present, the city has two treatment hubs offering free HIV testing - one at the City Health Office in Barangay Zone 4 and the other at the government-owned Zamboanga City Medical Center in Barangay Santa Catalina. Jose noted a rise in the number of HIV cases in the city, although she did not provide specific figures. She, however, said HIV is no longer a death sentence as it could be treated when detected early. Meanwhile, Dr. Dulce Amor Miravite, city health officer, called on the public to break all barriers of stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV. 'Let us all be champions for this cause and hope one day, no one may die of AIDS. Spread the word to screen for HIV early and that HIV can be treated,' Miravite said. A candlelight memorial was held at the Paseo del Mar in Barangay Zone 4 on Friday afternoon to commemorate International AIDS Candlelight Memorial. The Candlelight Memorial aimed to remember those who have died of HIV-AIDS and honor those who care for people living with the disease, as well as volunteers doing advocacy work. The international event began in 1983 to increase awareness of HIV-AIDS and mobilize communities.
Source: Philippines News agency