DOH searches for student advocates to help fight HIV, AIDS

Apr. 10, 2010

Davao City—The Department of Health is in search for 60 qualified students to participate in summer internship against human immunodeficiency virus HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome AIDS on April 13-17, 2010.

DOH expressed concern on the cases of HIV which is fast becoming a public threat in the region. DOH regional director, Dr. Teogenes Baluma said that 53 Dabawenyos, 40 males and 13 females, were HIV positive as cited in the regional office’s cumulative records from 1993-2009. Out of 53, only 37 are still alive today.

“There are 11 new HIV cases in Davao City this year. All of them are homosexuals involved in male-to-male sexual activity,” Baluma said.

The 8-week summer internship program of DOH-XI aims to produce a student peer counselor in all academes that will convince and encourage students to combat HIV and AIDS.

“We will be training these students in 5 days and we will educate them facts about HIV and AIDS. When school year starts, they are expected to serve as advocates against the disease,” Baluma said.

To qualify as a trainee, a student must be at least 18 years old, 2nd year college, and must possess strong communication skills.

Interested students may visit DOH-XI to avail application forms and get further information on the program. Last day of recruitment will be on April 7, Wednesday.

Qualified students will receive 300 pesos per day. Preliminary training is on April 13-17 in DOH-XI regional office.

“This advocacy strengthens our fight against HIV and AIDS with the help of our youth advocates,” Baluma added.

On May 16, DOH will sponsor a candle-lighting program in the region to increase awareness on HIV.

The DOH recently decided to tap the schools as a venue to raise awareness on this disease. Health secretary Esperanza Cabral believed that education is a potent weapon in combating the disease.

She added that HIV/AIDS information dissemination will be integrated in the school curricula.

To address these, the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher education (Ched), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) have all integrated HIV/AIDS issues and concerns in their respective plans and activities, said the health chief.

The DoH, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) have also entered into a Joint Memorandum Circular to implement the regional AIDS assistance teams that will provide technical assistance to HIV prevention and control activities of LGUs. For their part, LGUs are putting up Local AIDS Councils and launching AIDS awareness activities, the official added. (PIA XI)

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