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Candles to be lit for HIV, AIDS patients

MANILA, May 25 — A candle lighting ceremony will be held at the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) Bulwagang Apolinario Mabini at 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday to remember those who died from the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

The event, called the 27th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, also aims to show solidarity with the communities of persons living with AIDS and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and their families worldwide.

Among those expected to take part in the ceremony are United Nations resident coordinator Dr. Jacqueline Badcock, Ambassador Leslie Gatan of the DFA, Dr. Genesis May Samonte of the Department of Health's (DOH) National Epidemiology Center, Binibining Pilipinas-International 2011 Krista Kleiner, comedienne Kaye Brosas and two overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are living with HIV.

The activity was organized by the Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations (OUIER) and the Gender Focal Points of the DFA Offices, Office of United Nations and International Organization (UNIO), in partnership with the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and Action for Health Initiatives, Inc. (ACHIEVE), with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The DOH reported that there are 483 new HIV cases in the country from January to March 2011 alone. Of the number, 97% were infected through sexual contact.

Risky behavior, such as early and unsafe sex, has long been identified as one of the main reasons why people get HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

HIV can also be transmitted through blood products and childbirth. (PNA)

DCT/FFC/FPV

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