Do you have what it takes to beat HIV and AIDS?
The youth of Cagayan de Oro certainly do.
Together with Save the Children, the CDO youth came together to encourage Kagayanons to know their HIV status and get tested.
These young advocates, dubbed as "lifeguards," braved crowds, traffic, and the heat all in the name of HIV and AIDS awareness.
CDO stayed true to its moniker “The City of Golden Friendship” as it hosted an interactive and educational race.
The race, organized by Save the Children and The Red Whistle, aims to involve the youth in HIV awareness.
Our "lifeguards" visited a university, a mall, and a public park where they distributed health and information kits.
During these brief encounters, our lifeguards shared their knowledge with students, mall-goers and passersby. They discussed HIV and AIDS prevention, as well as how to stop stigma and discrimination.
HIV and AIDS testing and counselling clinics were found in every station. Those who wanted to get tested may do so voluntarily and would be referred to treatment hubs as needed.
The race proves itself timely as the Philippines has the world’s fastest growing HIV epidemic, the World Health Organization reported.
As of June 2016, the Philippines has around 34,999 reported HIV cases.
In June 2016, there were 841 new cases reported, and 27% of which involved Filipinos ages 15 to 24 years old.
The number could be even higher as some Filipinos go untested, unaware of their HIV status.
This is why we want to include the Filipino youth in our advocacy. We believe that the youth should be educated, empowered, and encouraged to fight HIV and AIDS.
To do this, we need to triple our efforts. Hence, our partnerships with local governments, community health workers, and advocacy groups nationwide.
Our educational race was also held in Zamboanga, Taguig, and Puerto Princessa. Hopefully, we can soon reach more areas across the Philippines.
We look forward to working with even more Filipino youth coming from different parts of the country Together, let’s change and save more lives!
It all starts with a small step. You can also support the HIV advocacy. Reach One, Test One, Save One!