Taguig City, Catriona Gray and JC Santos Pledges Anew to End the AIDS Epidemic
Taguig City, 9 August 2018 – City Mayor of Taguig, Ma. Laarni ‘Lani’ Cayetano, signed today the Paris Declaration to Fast-Track Cities: Ending the AIDS Epidemic, at the Kalayaan Hall in SM Aura, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
The Declaration was signed in presence of HIV advocates Miss Universe-Philippines Catriona Elisa M. Gray and actor JC Santos, DOH-NCR Regional Director Corazon Flores, UNAIDS Country Director for the Philippines Dr. Louie Ocampo, The Red Whistle founder Niccolo Cosme, and LoveYourself Executive Director Ronivin G. Pagtakhan. Pia Cayetano, Taguig City 2nd District Representative, also attended the event.
By signing the Paris Declaration, the Mayor of Taguig City pledged to put the city on the Fast-Track to ending the AIDS epidemic through a set of commitments that include achieving the 90–90–90 targets by 2020, which will result in 90% of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status on antiretroviral treatment and 90% of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads.“We need urgent action to help address the HIV-AIDS epidemic in protecting the welfare of our people belonging to key affected populations at risk to sexually transmitted infections. The partnership with UNAIDS, The LoveYourself and The Red Whistle with the help of celebrity ambassadors ramps up Taguig City’s preventive measures to combat the epidemic and eventually end AIDS,” said City Mayor Ma. Laarni L. Cayetano.
In July, the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) composed of 145 member-cities pledged to fast-track the AIDS response in the cities, by signing a partnership agreement with UNAIDS to take actions and make investments which would contribute to reducing the number of new HIV infections in the country.
“By providing technical expertise and practical solutions, UNAIDS is here to facilitate how cities can take bold actions and implement innovative solutions to bring the epidemic under control and faster, said Dr. Louie Ocampo of UNAIDS.
The event also officially appointed Miss Universe-Philippines 2018 Catriona Elisa M. Gray as the new ambassador of the 2018 Love Gala and Ripple Awards, alongside with Miss Universe 2015 and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, who was named as the first-ever ambassador of Love Gala in 2017.
“It has become my personal advocacy to help the LGBT community and the affected populations in their journey to stop HIV and stigma to eventually end AIDS. I hope that this ambassadorial role will touch more lives to rally for the cause and become an agent or a ripple of positive change in the community,” Gray said.
Gray announced the Call for Nomination of the 2018 Ripple Awards (www.lovegala.org/nominate-now), which will honor three individuals, three organizations and a project that demonstrates the genuine ability to move other people towards uplifting the lives affected by the HIV-AIDS epidemic. The Ripple Awards will culminate at the Love Gala event on 30 November 2018 in time for the commemoration of World AIDS Day.
Last year, Taguig City supported the pioneer Love Gala event, which is a collaboration of private and public institutions and youth-oriented organizations that aims to strengthen their efforts in mainstreaming HIV advocacy to a larger audience.
Based on the June 2018 HIV/AIDS & ART Registry data, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that there are 31 new HIV infections in the country everyday. The registry presented that sexual contact remains the predominant mode of transmission. Among this, 88% of the new HIV infections occurred among men who have sex with men (MSM). The data also showed that people aged 25-34 has the highest infection rate at 512 (52%), followed by individuals aged 15-24 with 287 (29%) cases.
To face this situation proactively, Taguig City, UNAIDS, and the advocacy groups –The LoveYourself and The Red Whistle alongside with their celebrity ambassadors, are joining efforts to shed more light on ending the AIDS epidemic not only in Taguig, but throughout the country and in the region.
The Fast-Tack declaration intends to stop all new HIV infections and avert AIDS-related deaths, including deaths caused by tuberculosis. It also aims to end stigma and discrimination. It envisions that every person in each city must have access to life-saving HIV and tuberculosis prevention, treatment, care and support services.
Taguig city plans to expand HIV services by putting up two integrated clinics with free diagnostic and treatment facilities, and hiring of additional health personnel to provide those services.