WITH the number of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases at its highest in Metro Manila, the Department of Health (DOH) is now calling on the local chief executives to help curb the epidemic in the region.
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, who recently met with Metro Manila mayors, said she is hopeful that the local government units will do their part in preventing more people from getting afflicted with HIV.
"Accelerating the response in NCR [National Capital Region], as well as in other high-burden areas, will be critical in averting the HIV epidemic in the Philippines," said Ubial in a statement.
"The time to act is now!" she added.
Ubial also stressed the need for proactive, coordinated, and intensified HIV prevention strategies among national and local officials.
"The fight against HIV and AIDS needs a concerted and coordinated response from all stakeholders and all local and national chief executives," said Ubial.
Based on the latest DOH monitoring, there are already 45,023 HIV and AIDS cases in the country from January 1984 to June 2017.
Of the figures, Metro Manila accounted for 18,823 cases or 42 percent.
During the meeting, the DOH related that the Metro Manila mayors had signed a commitment to fast-track the implementation of coordinated quality and high-impact HIV interventions in the region with an aim of increasing knowledge on HIV transmission, prevention, and services among all Filipinos; prevent new HIV infections especially among 15 to 24 years old; promote HIV testing among those practicing risky behaviors and their partners; treat all diagnosed with HIV; and eliminate the transmission of HIV from mother to child.
Strategies set to be adopted include providing an engaging role of the City AIDS Council that will put in place sustainable interventions like rolling out new prevention and testing approaches, establishing facilities offering integrated services for HIV care, and strengthening social protection for PLHIV and key populations. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)