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HIV, AIDS lectures underscore the importance of screening and treatment

The UPV Health Services Unit, in partnership with the PH Pub (an organization of BS Public Health students) and Partido sang Mainuswagon nga Bumulutho student organization organized a lecture forum on “Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)” on March 31, 2016 at the Interactive Learning Program audio-visual room, UP Visayas Miagao campus.

Mr. Angelito Nualla, Nurse II at the Rural Health Unit, of Miagao, Iloilo discussed the various sexually transmitted infections (STI) including their signs and symptoms and how they can be transmitted. He also discussed the rising number of STIs in Miagao including HIV.

The second speaker, Mr. Rodolfo Chin, Jr. of the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit of the Department of Health, Region VI, talked more extensively on HIV. He presented data showing a 1,038% increase of Filipinos contracting HIV and AIDS since 2008 nationwide, translating it to one case per day in 2008 and 27 cases per day in January 2016 or during the early part of the year.

 He explained that HIV and AIDS can be transmitted in three ways. First is through blood and other blood products (90-98%) such as transfusion, organ transplant, sharing of used needles/syringes. Second is through a pregnant mother to her child, e.g., pregnancy, pregnancy to delivery, and pregnancy to breastfeeding. Third is through unprotected penetrative sexual intercourse i.e., oral sex considered as low risk, vaginal sex classified as high risk and anal sex categorized as very high risk. He pointed that the highest incidence of HIV and AIDS occur in men having sex with men, followed by bisexual sex and heterosexual sex.

Chin said that treatment care and support for people with HIV and AIDS are as follows: enrolment in the nearest treatment hub (in Iloilo, it would be at the West Visayas State University Medical Center), regular blood test to determine the CD4 count and viral load, taking of anti-retroviral drugs to slow down the progression of infection and possibly prolong life, treatment of opportunistic infections, adopting a positive attitude and a healthy lifestyle, and seek out an HIV support group.

He added that prevention of HIV and AIDS include abstinence; faithfulness to one’s partner; proper use of condoms; avoiding sharing of needles or syringes, not engaging in substance abuse such as drugs and alcohol; and being well-informed.

He emphasized that early detection of HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections will enable the patient to have the proper treatment and manage the disease.

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