The need to inform the vulnerable public on how they can protect as well as help themselves and others from the ever rising Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection prompted the Department of Science and Technology-National Capital Region (DOST-NCR) and DOST-National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) to join hands in a campaign called “Breaking the HIV Stigma”.

A forum that focuses to communicate and disseminate, through digitized arts, various relevant HIV information in order to enhance the level of awareness of the most susceptible group - the youth sector, will be conducted on October 1, 2019 at Rizal High School Pasig City. This is part of the celebration of NCR Regional Science and Technology Week (RSTW).

Through the research of Dr. Brian S. Bantugan, NRCP member of Division XI – Humanities, informing the public about HIV is made easier since the rise of social media users by using digitized arts in films, books, posters, social medium, among others. Dr. Bantugan will also present the policy recommendations on increasing awareness on HIV.

To actually break the stigma, Mr. Ico Rodulfo Johnson, President of The Red Ribbon Project Care Management Foundation Inc., will share his experience and HIV Advocacy.

Dr. Louie R. Ocampo, UNAIDS Country Representative, will discuss the big picture of HIV in the country. In his presentation during the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) at the World Trade on July 17, 2019, Dr. Ocampo said that there are now 39 to 40 HIV infections per day and most of them come from Generation Z or those with ages 15 to 24. Such is the statistics that HIV has become one of the top issues in the country today.

With the Gen Z in mind, the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) is also presenting the project of Dr. Emmanuel S. Baja, called Battle in the Blood. It is the first gaming app that would hopefully help increase the uptake of HIV testing and treatment in the Philippines. Dr. Baja said in a report that the gaming app (#BitB) is a very powerful communication tool to address the stigma of HIV. He will demonstrate the Battle in the Blood Mobile App to the students and participants from Pasig, Mandaluyong, Marikina, San Juan.