DOH warns couples vs HIV as Valentine’s Day nears
The Department of Health (DOH) reminded couples celebrating Valentine’s Day this year to be on guard not only against COVID-19 but also against other diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). “Protect yourself. There are other illnesses you can acquire if you are not cautious. And one of them is HIV,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in an online press briefing. HIV leads to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), a condition in which the body’s immune system is attacked and compromised, making the patient vulnerable to diseases that would ultimately lead to death. She assured the public that despite the government’s focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOH has continuously been addressing other illnesses affecting Filipinos. Vergeire also reminded the public about #AwraSafely, the DOH and other nongovernmental organizations’ campaign to promote awareness of HIV as well as the available services for People Living with HIV in the country. “Awra,” a creative version of the English word “aura,” is a word popularized in Filipino gay culture, which means to attract attention, or to make one’s presence known. —Tina G. Santos
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