MALOLOS—“The Philippines is one of only seven countries in the world where the human immunodeficiency virus and AIDS cases are rising. Therefore everyone must be vigilant enough to fight it, because HIV is attacking our immune system and it is our defense to infections,” an expert on the illnesses said recently.
To remedy this, the Bulacan Provincial Public Health Office and the Department of Health-Region 3 created a pool of trainers to raise public awareness on HIV and other sexually transmissible infections in a three-day Trainers’ Course on HIV and STIs Education at the Widus Hotel, Clarkfield, Angeles City, Pampanga recently.
DoH HIV master trainer Celestino Ramirez and Joseph Michael Manlutac, regional HIV program coordinator, introduced a book entitled “Basic STI, HIV and AIDS Education Module: Trainer’s Guide First Edition” and said it can be used in speaking engagements about the infections.
The book’s seven modules are: the rationale for STI, HIV and AIDS Education; Republic Act 8504 or the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998; Gender, Sex, Sexuality and Reproductive Health; The Basics of STI, HIV and AIDS; The Impact of HIV and AIDS; The Country Response; and the Challenges to the Country Response.
According to the Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry Epidemiology Bureau, 35,765 cases of HIV and AIDS were recorded in the country since 1984 and about 26 new cases are listed every day.
Meanwhile, the bureau reported that 2,887 patients were treated in Central Luzon since 1984, 948 of whom came from Bulacan.
Bulacan provincial administrator Eugenio Payongayong said the disease was a problem not only of the infected person but also of their family, the society where they belong and the government.
HIV only infects humans and is transmitted through unprotected penetrative sexual intercourse, infected blood and blood products and mother to child.
“We do not deprive the person living with HIV of their human rights just as long as they do it safely and responsibly. We should remember that one exposure is all it takes for a person to be infected with HIV and there’s no cure for it, only medicines to delay the progression of the disease,” Ramirez said.
He also encouraged the community in general to do the A, B C, D, E of prevention, the Abstinence meaning do not have sex; Be monogamous or have only one sexual partner; Correct and consistent use of condom and safer sex practices; Do not inject drugs; and Educating the public about HIV and AIDS.
At the end of the training, the trainees drafted action plans for public awareness campaigns within one year in their respective areas.
The trainees include the Department of Interior and Local Government-Bulacan, Department of Education-Bulacan, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology-Region 3, Bulacan State University, Baliwag University, Bulacan Polytechnic College, Philippine National Red Cross, PGB departments such as Provincial Public Affairs Office, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, and Provincial Youth, Sports Employment and Development Office.