The City Health Office (CHO) is organizing barangay HIV/AIDS teams to conduct information and dissemination campaigns aimed at increasing public awareness about the disease.
Regina Villapa, the CHO coordinator, said their office has already reached out to urban barangays to include the creation of the HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome) teams in their agenda.
Villapa explained that their effort is aimed at changing the public’s negative perception about HIV/AIDS, thus encouraging more people to subject themselves to testing.
“Gusto nating mawala ang stigma or discrimination, minsan nga [meron] sa family pa,” she said.
She said that once barangay officials are capacitated, the CHO can concentrate more on testing and can cover more areas.
“Kapag capacitated na ang barangay officials, mag-aantay na lang kami ng referrals nila for HIV testing. Hindi kasi iyan puwede gawin sa barangay,” she said, adding more than 50 percent of 66 barangays already have HIV cases.
She said in November 2017, the CHO, through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), conducted a seminar for barangay officials regarding HIV-AIDS but noted that the event was not well attended.
“November 2017 naghingi kami ng assistance from DILG dahil member din iyan ng Local HIV/AIDS Council, na magtawag ng barangay officials for orientation. Pero hindi lahat nag-attend,” she said.