By Christina Hedriana Baroña, Ф2019, Class 2023
Last October 8, the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority held EmpoweRED: An HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign at the Gregorio Perfecto High School. Students from Grades 9 and 10 were given lectures on the different aspects surrounding the condition, namely, its medical and social aspect.
Dr. Winlove Mojica, a consultant of the Philippine General Hospital-Division of Dermatology, gave the lecture on the medical aspect of the condition—its prevalence, how one contracts it, how it is transmitted and how it can affect the body, as he clarified medical myths surrounding the disease. This part of the talk aims to dispel any misconception about the condition that could easily contribute to the stigma, thus effectively stopping it from forming in this particular set of young minds in the first place.
The speaker of the social aspect of HIV/AIDS, Mr. Manuel Labro, who himself is a Person Living with HIV (PLHIV), was introduced by first having Dr. Mojica show a video on the life of a PLHIV, which turns out to be him. Mr. Labro then emerged from the audience and continued his lecture. Through this unorthodox introduction and a moving speech, Mr. Labro was able to effectively demonstrate how people living with the condition look no different from those without it, whilst silently, but successfully fighting a fierce battle with one of the most devastating infectious diseases humanity has ever had to face.
This is but one of the many events in the EmpoweRED Talk Series that aims to break the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, by teaching correct information and raising awareness in the youth, the demographic most concerned by the subject given its rising sexual activity and thus, rising risk of exposure to the disease. With the help of the consultants who take part in educating the youth about it, and the PLHIV who share their experiences living with it, the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority urges everyone to be aware, be informed and be empoweRED.