Taipei, June 27 (CNA) A group of firefighters joined efforts to bring down the incidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) infections in the country by urging people on Wednesday to screen themselves regularly.
"Take the test, take control,”said a dozen firefighters at a press conference held to mark National HIV Testing Day.
“Stopping the spread of AIDS is similar to stopping fire. The key lies in prevention,”said Huang Sheng-yu, a firefighter participating in the campaign.
Besides practicing safe sex and understanding other transmission pathways, Huang stressed the importance to test for HIV/AIDS through regular screening programs.
As of March 31, there are 23,106 reported cases of HIV/AIDS in Taiwan, with the number growing at about 2,000 per year, according to health authorities.
However, Centers for Disease Control Director-General Chang Feng-yee said that the figure could be higher because some people may be spreading the disease without their knowledge due to being unaware they are infected.
The Taiwan AIDS Foundation, the event's organizer, said that firefighters were invited to take part in the campaign because they were publicly thought of as being healthy and full of vitality.
“We hope that young people can look up to them as role models,” said Frank Shih, the foundation's chairman.
In the wake of the event, the foundation will offer a limited number of free screenings at designated health care institutes nationwide.
(By Nancy Liu)