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Metro

DOH, QC push HIV testing

Reinir Padua - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Health and the Quezon City government yesterday signed an agreement to undertake a communication program to encourage human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing, particularly among men.

Quezon City has registered the highest number of HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) cases, a recent study showed.

The program will be headed and administered by the city government and will focus on urging “most-at-risk populations” to get tested and go back for the results, and to use condoms and lubricants properly when engaging in sex.

If they test positive for HIV, they are encouraged to undergo full treatment.

A DOH study showed that 77 percent of the total number of new HIV and AIDS cases in the country are in Metro Manila, with the most number of cases found in Quezon City.

DOH Assistant Secretary Paulyn Ubial said the state of HIV/AIDS in the country has changed “from a state of low and slow, now it’s growing.”

Ubial noted that the figures have changed in the past five years. She said the number of new infections increased from one new case every three days to one new case every hour and 15 minutes. There are about 17 new cases every day.

She said there have been 21,526 Filipinos with HIV and AIDS since 1984. Ninety percent of them are men. She said sexual contact has been the most common mode of transmission.

Ubial said the agreement, the first in the country, will be replicated so that more local government units will take a more active role in HIV/AIDS prevention.

Quezon City is one of two implementation sites of a project called Reaching Out to Most-at-Risk Populations, a USAID-funded modeling project, the objective of which is to prevent the rise of HIV cases.

The city government runs Klinika Bernardo, a free diagnostic, treatment and referral facility for male patients.

Situated in Cubao, it is the first ever social hygiene clinic, a facility that specializes in the detection and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV-AIDS, that caters mainly to males.

Mayor Herbert Bautista said the agreement and other projects are the city government’s contribution to efforts to focus on and know the state of HIV-AIDS in the country.

Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte noted that the first way to address the problem is knowing and acknowledging it. “Many leaders tend to deny the problem exists,” she said.

Belmonte said knowing the problem helps the city government proactively look for solutions.

AIDS

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PAULYN UBIAL

CITY

HIV

KLINIKA BERNARDO

MAYOR HERBERT BAUTISTA

METRO MANILA

QUEZON CITY

REACHING OUT

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