HEALTH workers pledged to intensify awareness drive against human immunodeficiency syndrome - acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV-Aids), after admitting that they were more focused on the treatment aspect.
“Admittedly, nag-lag kami doon (sa information awareness) because we focused on treatment (admittedly, we had some lag when it comes to information awareness because we focused on treatment),” said Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) head Jordana Ramiterre during the iSpeak forum at the Davao City Hall conference room on Thursday, May 9.
Ramiterre, however, said they capacitated district health oficers to do prevention education to reach out to their respective communities.
Recently, the Davao City RHWC recorded a total of 39 new HIV-Aids cases obtained through sexual intercourse in Davao City from January to February 2019 alone.
According to Department of Health (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau, 15 were reported in January while 24 were recorded in February. By gender, 35 are males while four are females.
For HIV-Aids cases by age group, 17 individuals aged 15 to 24 years old were tested positive; 19 for age 25 to 34, and three for 35 to 49.
Since 1984 up to present, a total of 2,704 HIV-Aids cases -- 143 females and 2,561 males -- were recorded in Davao City.
Ramiterre said Dabawenyos are already knowledgeable of treatment access, however, there are still those who are hesitant to have themselves tested due to lack of awareness.
“Kulang pa rin (it is still lacking). We wanted prevention to be actively integrated in our schools, specifically to grades 5 and 6,” Ramitterry said.
She said DOH is coordinating with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to include it in the subject curriculum.
“Di kasi regular and sustained ang information drive. Kaya nga we are hoping that magiging active ang prevention education sa mga schools (Information drive is regular and sustained. That is why, we are hoping that prevention education will be more active in schools),” Ramitterry said.
CHO, together with the Southern Philippines Medical Center, will be staging an International Aids Candle lighting Memorial on May 17 at the Rizal Park.
On its 36th year commemoration, updates on the HIV-Aids data and statistics will be discussed during the event, including the recently-signed Philippine HIV and Aids Policy Act.