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In support of this year’s International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, Isabela City Health Office led by Dr. Mohrein Ismael VI held a one-day orientation and candle lighting activity among Alternative Learning System (ALS) students, May 19.

With the theme “Spread Love and Solidarity to Build Stronger Communities” the 2023 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial aims to raise awareness about the challenges faced by individuals living with HIV due to persistent discrimination and stigmatization.

This event highlights the significant challenges that people living with HIV face due to persistent stigma and discrimination leading to feelings of shame, self-doubt, and isolation, preventing individuals from seeking the care and support they need.

Students of ALS participated in the lecture with HIV/AIDS program coordinator Marivic Lintag as the speaker. Of the participants 14 of them were tested on HIV and syphilis as facilitated by medical technologists Chrizan Mijares and Georgette Tarun. Also in attendance were DOH CHD IX Development Officer Mingkie Abdurahman, CHO HEPO Bernardita Hontucan, and other City Health Office personnel.

This activity serves as a reminder to all that we matter, that we are more than HIV, that we can love ourselves and be loved, we can go after our dreams, and that in solidarity we can build a stronger community that cares for one another.