Health Fair for a Healthier Youth
Photo by Andrew Esposa
VSO International Citizen Service, together with the University of San Carlos Supreme Student Council, organized the Health Fair: For a “Healthier YOUth” on June 22 at USC Downtown Campus, with the purpose of promoting awareness about HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and mental health.
Dr. Joanna Catalina, a professor from the University of San Jose Recoletos gave a talk about the sign and symptoms of AIDS, how it is transmitted and the methods of reducing the risk of getting infected by the virus.
HIV or human immunodeficiency virus is a retrovirus causing AIDS that attacks the cell responsible for protecting the body from infection in general. According to Dr. Catalina, once the virus is transmitted into the body, it attacks the cell described, creates its replica and attaches to another cell to destroy it in the same manner.
She stated four main modes of transfer namely: sexual intercourse, transfusion of infected blood, needle-sharing in drug-use and breast-feeding between a mother and her child. Furthermore, Dr. Catalina stressed that abstinence is the most effective way to prevent HIV infection, as 95% of reported cases are transmitted through sexual contact.
Ernest Herrera III, former Calape, Bohol mayor and current assistant chief of Cebu City Office for Substance Prevention talked about the dangers of substance abuse and the factors that cause drug addiction. He stated that the use of illegal drugs is one of the main problems of the country, and such crime is in fact the cause of 90% of other crimes, such as rape, homicide and robberies.
According to Herrera, the most common causes of drug abuse are stress from work or family, personal problems and peer pressure. He added that with proper information dissemination, people will be able to help spread awareness about the effects of drug addiction.
Dr. Renato Obra, a psychiatrist and professor, discussed the importance of mental health and what people need to know about depression and anxiety, giving emphasis on emotional stress as the contributing factor to depression. According to him, it is normal for a person to feel anxious about stressful situations. However, if anxiety affects the person intensely and stands in the way of living a normal life, it already becomes a disorder.
AIDS, substance abuse and mental health are among the issues on health care that people must never stop to address, according to Cebu City Atty. Jerone Castillo. In his opening remarks, he commended the efforts of the volunteers in making the health fair possible.
Aside from USC students, also participating in the event were volunteers from Cebu City Volunteerism Movement and students from University of San Jose Recoletos, University of Southern Philippines Foundation, Cebu Normal University and University of the Philippines — Cebu.