Breaking Down the Stigma!
The BEA HIV/AIDS Prevention and Education Program
According to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), the Philippines is the fastest-growing number of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases in the world as reported by Manila Bulletin last October 2019.
“We are the country with the fastest-growing HIV epidemic in the world, not only in Asia and the Pacific. In 2018 report, we’re now number 1 in the whole world,” Dr. Louie Ocampo, UNAIDS Philippines country director, said in a talk held at the Manila Doctors Hospital in Manila. (Manila Bulletin, October 2019)
Based on the latest statistics from UNAIDS, there are an estimated 13,000 adults and children newly infected with HIV and an estimated 77,000 people living with HIV/AIDS and these numbers are increasing based on the trends since 1990.
Baguio Episcopal Area Action
The battle against HIV/AIDS had been our commitment to Ilocos South District since 2010. Officially in 2013, it became a flagship ministry of the Baguio Episcopal Area.
The church through BEA is moving to create programs and seminars to lessen the spread of this virus. Mrs. Joyce O. Torio, Bishop Pete’s wife, had been at the helm of this volunteer ministry. The BEA HIV and AIDS Awareness/Prevention Education campaign has catered to more than 2000 delegates in 180 seminars since 2017. Since last year (2018), the BEA office had been paying for the PhilHealth contributions of 11 PLWHA (Persons Living With HIV and AIDS). These PhilHealth contributions allow them to avail of treatment and other laboratory expenses for free. At times, when necessary, financial support transportation and other incidental expenses when the PLWHA go for treatment are also provided.
On December 1, 2018, Dr. Kareen Alna Lacasandile, the BEA Team’s Physician-Advocate, opened her Diagnostic Clinic as a Department of Health – accredited HIV/AIDS Treatment Hub. This year 2019, Dr. Lacasandile and her clinic have been an active voice in bringing awareness to different ages, most especially the young ones. As a part of the awareness campaign, she organized a fun run with a theme: I RUN FOR HIV FREE Region 1” on November 30, 2019, in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur.
The BEA Staff joined this important milestone of our HIV/AIDS ministry.