RH education ‘to curb HIV cases’

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Thursday, May 3, 2012


THE passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill could help curb abnormally increasing cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Aids) in the country, a group said.

The Philippine Non Government Organization (NGO) Council for Population, Health and Welfare Inc. cited that in March alone, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 313 Filipinos afflicted with the virus, which is 82 percent more compared to last year, the highest ever recorded on a monthly basis since 1984.

Dr. Eden Divinagracia, executive director of the group, said if only there are national policies on RH that can help educate and inform the public about HIV-Aids, this unprecedented increase could have been prevented.

“RH education can lead to responsible behavior, which means higher levels of abstinence, being faithful to a partner and being more careful and use proper protection such as condoms. These good effects are even greater when parents can talk honestly with their children about sexual and reproductive matters,” she said.

The group raised the alarm, citing lack of awareness and information of the public regarding the disease.

The country’s HIV-Aids registry shows sexual contact remains as the number one mode of transmission with 280 individuals engaging in the activity.

According to the registry, homosexual contact resulted in 143 new cases, followed by bisexual contact with 89 and heterosexual contact with 48.

In Baguio City, the City Health Services Office-Social Hygiene Clinic reported some 47 people already positive with HIV, with most of the new cases coming from the “men having sex with men” and overseas Filipino workers sectors.

Around 6,000 people all over the country have also acquired HIV-Aids. The DOH said this number could double and triple as the spread of the disease remain hidden and is spreading fast.

With this, the group urged both the Senate and House of Representatives to discuss immediately the RH bill once session resumes to address the increasing number of HIV-Aids cases and the rapid population growth.

“Now is the time to have a comprehensive policy on Reproductive Health,” said the group.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 03, 2012.

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