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Anti-HIV advocate among finalists for Ten Outstanding Young People of the World

- Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - August 19, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - His secret hobby is reading comics, especially manga, but what moves 37-year-old Edsel Maurice Salvana most are the stories of people who lost a loved one to HIV/AIDS or who contracted the virus.

Salvana left a lucrative career in the US in 2008 to come home as a Balik Scientist of the Department of Science and Technology. Having studied the HIV epidemic in Africa and the US, he was disheartened to find out that the disease was also on the rise in the Philippines.

“I was not initially working on HIV but tropical medicine. When I saw a large number of HIV cases within a few months of coming back, I decided to shift the focus of my work to HIV because I could see the beginning of an epidemic, ” he told The STAR.

It was in 2007 when the Department of Health started observing the increasing cases of HIV among the sector of men-who-have-sex-with-men. This indicated the changing landscape of the epidemic in the country since for decades, it was commercial sex workers who were primarily being infected.

“Being a doctor is the best job in the whole world, because I get to take care of my fellow human beings, and I hear a lot of great stories,” he said.

“One of the most rewarding things about taking care of people living with HIV is that sometimes, you get someone who is literally at death’s door, you pull him out, start him on treatment, and six months later he’s back to work with a smile on his face.”

Because of his work in medicine and social activism, Salvana was chosen as one of the 2010 Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM).

From among the recent TOYM awardees, the Philippine Jaycees selected a few, including Salvana, to be nominated for the Ten Outstanding Young People (TOYP) of the World competition.

There were 150 former TOYM/TOYP winners worldwide who were nominated for the TOYP competition. A screening committee narrowed down the nominees to 20 finalists that include Salvana and fellow Filipino Bam Aquino.

The final 10 will be announced on Aug. 20. To vote, one can go to the JCIWorld website: www.jci.cc/toypvotewww.jci.cc/toypvote and click on the biographies and click Like to vote.

“I feel incredibly honored to have been chosen from among so many outstanding people from all over the world, h Salvana said.

To curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country, he has been advocating for people to gcome in, get tested and (be) treated.”

 Salvana received his BS in Biology, magna cum laude, from the University of the Philippines Diliman in 1996 and his medical degree from the UP College of Medicine in 2001.

Included in his long credentials are his training in internal medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee; his fellowship in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and his being an adjunct faculty for Global Health at the University of Pittsburgh.

He is also the assistant director and a research faculty at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the UP- National Institutes of Health; a clinical associate professor at the UP-College of Medicine and a physician for infectious diseases at the Manila Doctors Hospital.

Salvana has received many awards, including Outstanding Young Scientist for 2010 by the National Academy of Science and Technology for his work in tropical medicine.

 

BALIK SCIENTIST OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF MEDICINE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH EDSEL MAURICE SALVANA FILIPINO BAM AQUINO GLOBAL HEALTH HIV INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND TROPICAL MEDICINE INSTITUTE OF MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY SALVANA
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