Amos Tara Community Center, in partnership with the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI), is offering a free human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing dubbed as Valentine’s Special #Feb-ibigSaAmos which started Thursday.
PSFI program manager Ynna Doblado said the free HIV screening will include hair and make up sessions, photoshoot, and other activities at the community center located along J. Abad Santos Street in Barangay Masipag that will last until February 14.
Doblado said the activity aims to increase awareness among Palaweños on the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).
“Ang Valentine’s Special ng Amos Tara ay naglalayon na maka-engganyo ng mga youth, adult, babae o lalake para malaman ang information tungkol sa HIV prevention,” Doblado said.
During the kick off activity, 20 Miss Palawan candidates were present to help spread the awareness on HIV prevention as a part of their advocacy.
As of February 11 this year, a total of 463 confirmed HIV cases has been recorded in Palawan. Of the figure, 264 are from Puerto Princesa City and 199 are from different municipalities.
“Kanina ay nandito ang mga Miss Palawan with the objective na ma-engganyo natin sila, they could share the information through HIV 101 din na lecture kanina kung saan sinabi kung saan nanggagaling ang sakit na ito at paano maiiwasan. Sana maging advocacy nila ito dahil gusto natin na marami pang makaalam ng HIV prevention,” Doblado said.
“Alam natin na mataas ang kaso ng HIV sa atin kaya sana we can control ang pagtaas ng kaso sa atin,” she added.
Puerto Princesa City vice mayor Maria Nancy Socrates, who is a staunch advocate against premarital and unprotected sex, said that it is about time that all work together to continue in addressing the matter.
She said most of the youth today who are sexually active should be made aware of the consequences of their actions, including that possibility of acquiring HIV.
“Sa generation ninyo, [ang HIV] ang talagang isa sa malaking concern. Ako, I do not encourage and approve premarital sex, extra marital sex, and unprotected sex. But I am also practical enough to know that this is the reality and this is what is happening in our society. I have to accept the fact and address the situation,” Socrates said.
Socrates also encouraged individuals who engage in premarital sex to be responsible in taking care of themselves.
“Sa mga kabataan na may sexual activity, sana alamin muna natin ang consequences ng ating gagawin lalo na pwedeng makakuha ng sakit sa pagkakaroon ng unprotected sex. Mas maganda na magpigil at ‘wag na muna kung hindi pa kasal pero kung hindi na napipigilan dapat at least alam natin how to be responsible,” she added.