Posted by: Ces | November 25, 2007

Group calls for stronger measures to combat HIV/AIDS

by: Ma. Cecilia Rodriguez

October 2007 



Cagayan de Oro City – An alliance of health advocates here is calling for stronger measures to ensure that the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) are prevented and controlled.

The call was made amidst reports that rising cases of human trafficking and prostitution remains unabated in Mindanao.

The Alliance against AIDS in Mindanao (Alagad) has asked city legislators to pass an ordinance and implementing rules for the creation of an AIDS council that will focus on measures for awareness building among stakeholders and capacitating medical workers on dealing with HIV/AIDS cases.

“There is already an existing AIDS law, the Republic Act 8504, but this has not been implemented locally,” said Honey Mabaylan, Alagad project staff. “We need to have enough safeguards to ensure that AIDS is controlled. This can be done by giving the person with AIDS enough assurance to submit to voluntary testing and ensure that treatment, care and support are given to them,” she said.

Jana Gerold of the Center for International Migration also said medical personnel should be capacitated to deal with HIV/AIDS cases. “The confidentiality of the case should never be broken, that is very important to protect the person with AIDS. This will encourage others to come out. Reported cases will rise if these are handled well,” she said.

A report of the Populations Services Pilipinas revealed that in Mindanao, there are presently 87 reported cases of HIV/AIDS and described the status of the epidemic as ‘hidden and growing.’

Cagayan de Oro city councilor Dante Pajo said he will respond to the call of Alagad by requesting the mayor to reconvene the AIDS council. “There is actually an ordinance passed in 2004 in adherence to RA 8504, but the council was never convened,” Pajo told the Inquirer. He said the said body will be composed of the department of health, academe and other stakeholders.

Part of the function of Alagad is to inform and educate people who are more exposed or vulnerable to unprotected sex, among them the youth, mobile workers, OFW’s, and prostitutes.

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