May 03, 2012
Increasing awareness leads to HIV detections
DAVAO CITY – Increasing awareness has led to more Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV) cases as more people are going for HIV tests.
“Nitaas siya kay daghan na nagpatest.” (It has risen because many have taken tests) says Kenneth Sadia, Information Education Communication support staff of the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center of the Davao City Health Office (CHO) said.
From January to March of this year, the City Health Office recorded 45 new cases or about 17% of the 262 cases monitored since 1993.
Based on RHWC data, there had been 7,191 visits to the RHWC in 2011; this is far cry from the 4,937 visits recorded in 2008. For 2012, the RHWC is averaging about 500 visits per month. Among those visitors would include those who volunteered to have free HIV tests.
Sadia said that they are currently conducting IEC outreach among the city’s barangays. Currently they have already reached about 52 barangays in Davao City. Aside from information dissemination, some barangays have also requested HIV tests.
Also the RHWC conducts monthly outreach programs to victims of prostitution, where they are taken to the RHWC for information awareness sessions and also tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some commercial sex workers also volunteered for HIV screenings. “HIV screenings cannot be forced upon them” says Sadia.
Dr. Jordana Ramiterre of the RHWC said that a gargantuan effort should be exerted to convince these CSWs to have regular HIV AIDS screenings.
She said that the IEC campaign is more of preventive education for the general population and for the high-risk groups. “Everybody should be careful.” Ramiterre said.
“For example if you engage in having multiple sex partners then you should use a condom.” She added.
Rising HIV cases can also be traced to increasing high-risk sexual behaviour of the populace.
Among these include the lack or non-use of condoms during sexual intercourse and also increasing number of young Filipinos engaging in pre-marital sex.
Among the high risk group include those engaging in Male having sex with Males (MSM) based on RHWC data about 245 cases of the 262 accumulated cases were brought about by MSM.
“MSM is more prone to having multiple sexual partners and also many would not use condoms during sexual intercourse” Sadia said. (PIA/RG Alama)