MCI Students Association Holds Forum on Raising Awareness
of the Rise of HIV/AIDS in Davao City

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Davao City (September 13, 2014)
MCI Student Association invited Dr. Jing Ramiterre of the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center of the Davao City Health Office (CHO, which tackles the prevention, treatment, care, and support of individuals living with AIDS and those that are vulnerable to HIV. Dr. Ramittere explained the variety of strategies and initiatives available to address this pandemic among the youth. The doctor said that HIV/AIDS is a virus that gradually attacks our immune system’s cells and progressively damages our cells making the body weak and thus unable to resist infections. It takes five to ten years for HIV to damage the immune system enough for HIV/AIDS to develop. Dr. Ramiterre also stressed the importance of religious sectors’ efforts to prevent the spread of the virus to vulnerable groups by giving them valuable educational measures. According to Dr. Ramiterre, the DOH ranked Davao City the fifth highest in growth in the number of HIV cases in the country at nine to ten percent. Moreover, the forum emphasized the Philippine AIDS law, The Republic Act (R.A 8504) addresses education and information, counseling, and confidentiality. The physician emphasized the value of community support, accurate information in HIV/AIDS, medical confidentiality of individuals who are HIV/AIDS positive, and disclosure to partners. An affected individual has not only rights to confidentiality about his /her status but also freedom from discrimination in any form, according to the Discrimination Act. Dr. Ramittere praised the MCI Student Association Forum for educating youth and raising awareness of the rise of HIV/AIDS. According to Dr. Ramiterre, the greatest obstacle here is behaviors because social media make youth more vulnerable. He commented, “That’s why I am thankful for MCI Student Association educating people to reflect on their behavior." Dr. Ramiterre stressed the best ways to prevent HIV/AIDS is “ABCDE: abstinence from sex, be faithful, condom use, do not use drugs, and education.” She concluded, “But at the end, one partner for life is the best safeguard.”