Raising HIV/AIDS awareness amongst males in the Philippines

Delivering much needed education surrounding HIV/AIDS to inmates at a male detention centre as part of my 2 month medical placement in the Philippines. HIV is an immunodeficiency virus which attacks the immune system and weakens people’s defences against other viruses and diseases. The Philippines has one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics in the world and education surrounding the virus needs to be delivered to civilians urgently. HIV is one of the most sexually transmitted disease there is. In the Philippines alone, there is approximately 1000 reported cases every month since 2016 and 96% of the patients are male.

HIV/AIDS Awareness Project

During our 2 month long medical placement in the Philippines, we had been assigned an additional project to raise awareness of HIV and educate communities on protecting themselves against the deadly virus. On our days off from the hospital and health clinics, myself and the other participants would focus all our energy on delivering this HIV awareness project.

As HIV in the Philippines is particularly prolific amongst males, we devised the idea to deliver a workshop in a male only prison. We ensured the timing of the workshop coincided with HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention month, a month when hundreds of imitativeness to fight HIV and AIDS take place across the globe. Our seminar took place on the 19th December 2019 at Inagawan Sub-Colony and was attended by 504 inmates and few correction officers.

The first speaker was Sheena (participant) and Helen (coordinator), they talked about what HIV and AIDS is about and how it can be acquired. Next was Darlene (participant) and Glory (CM), they talked about the different stages of HIV/AIDS, symptoms and causes. Lastly, Alvin (participant) and Miko (coordinator), they discussed about the HIV/AIDS in the Philippines. After the said forum, we delivered a Q&A with prizes for those answering correctly, this was a great way to encourage engagement. The inmates stayed focused throughout and many remarked how they had learned a significant amount and felt safer for it.

Following the workshop, we received thanks from the Bureau of Corrections- Inagawan Sub-Colony as well as the inmates. We hope the roaring success of our project will inspire other volunteers to continue our legacy and use their initiative to develop creative ways to raise HIV awareness.

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