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HIV / AIDS Alert

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HIV / AIDS Alert

Post by Y I N G on Sat 11 Dec 2010, 1:17 pm

MANILA CITY, METRO MANILA — Despite endless efforts by the government and non-government organizations in promoting AIDS awareness, the Philippines is one of the countries experiencing a rapid increase in the number of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Dr. Eric Tayag, head of the National Epidemiology Center, disclosed that the Philippines is one of the seven countries that manifested at least a 25 percent-increase in HIV cases from 2001 to 2009.Every day, five Filipinos are at risk of contracting the virus. HIV is transmitted in three ways: through unprotected sexual intercourse, unscreened blood donations, and mother-to-child transmission. Aside from unprotected sexual intercourse, having multiple partners increases the risk of having HIV.

But according to Tayag, there is also a growing trend of HIV transmission through male-to-male intercourse and sharing of needles among substance abusers. Hence, the government is still far from achieving the Millennium Development Goal 6, which is to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.

“Are the things we’re doing right now relevant to the HIV situation that we’re doing today?” asked Tayag, addressing advocates during the forum.

Tayag also said that the National Epidemiology Center can only go as far as providing information. Thus, he called on to the conservative stake holders not to make this information “paralyze” them from doing something.

“This is not a looming threat but a real threat that will affect the progress of our country,” said Tayag.

Meanwhile, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) country director Renaud Meyer believes the passage of the controversial Reproductive Health or RH Bill is a key factor in achieving the goal of reducing HIV cases in the Philippines.

But Meyer also pointed out that the RH Bill issue is still a different issue from fighting HIV.

“(The) distribution of condoms is very different. I don’t want to mix the HIV issue with RH Bill, but the use of condom for health services is a good way of giving people the option on how they can conduct their sexuality,” he said. “Unless we are able to distinguish (between the two), we will still see conservative forces in the Philippines mixed those issues that will have a negative impact on the fight against HIV.”

By Marjorie Gorospe, loQal.ph
For Yahoo! Southeast Asia

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