Aggressive anti-HIV/AIDS IEC for implementation due to increase in cases

Aggressive anti-HIV/AIDS IEC for implementation due to increase in cases

Aggressive education and information dissemination against Human Immuno-Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) has to be implemented, as a drastic increase in cases is reported.

This is according to City Health Services Office in-charge Dr. Celia Flor Brillantes during the AIDS Watch Council (AWAC) meeting with government agencies and private partners last Friday, Sept. 8.   

The HIV- infected populace (specially from the vulnerable population) should be tested, properly diagnosed and enrolled to anti-retroviral treatment (ART), so as to lower and suppress viral load for People living with HIV (PLHIVs) and have them lead normal healthy lives; all at a ninety-five percent (95%) rate, Brillantes emphasized.

An ART is a medical regimen which reduces and keeps the amount of virus under control, hence, rendering the infection non-transmissible. Other conditions, including illness of other sources however, can persist even with ART.

The vulnerable population consists of men having sex with men (MSM), transgender women, female sex workers, people who use/inject drugs, Persons deprived of Liberty (PDLs) and, women and children, and it was reported.

Data shows that not all key population have access to preventive services or are practicing protective behavior; and not all PLHIVs are diagnosed and not all diagnosed PLHIVs are on life -saving ART.

As to the HIV prevention and care cascade model, an anti STI/HIV AIDS drive would increase knowledge on HIV transmission, prevention and services provide combination prevention and access to services, and more importantly, prevent new HIV infections. The cascade model is part of the 2030 UN AIDS target.  

Another important factor to consider is zero discrimination for PLHIVs. Discrimination often causes PLHIVs not to seek medical services for their condition

Dr. Brillantes however assured those seeking treatment that all examinations and laboratory services are done in one area, thus ensuring confidentiality.     

As for newly diagnosed cases reported in the HIV/AIDS and ART registry of the

Philippines, daily increases have been reported. In 2011, six individuals are diagnosed daily; 21 in 2015; 35 in 2019 and for this year, 50 cases are reported daily.

In Baguio city, there were 21 cases in 2019; at least 14 cases in 2020; 31 in 2021; 56 in 2022; and for the first semester of 2023, there are 19 new cases. 

Of the country’s total annual cases; there were just 2 cases in 1984, a gradual increase through the years to 1,551 cases in 2010; 7,595 in 2015; 9,142 the next year, 10,989 in 2017, 11,311 in 2018; and 12,727 in 2019. The figures dropped to 8,034 in 2020, slowly climbed up to 12,333 in 2021, and 14,952 in 2022. As reported, the first half of this year yielded 6,059 cases.

As to HIV cases enrolled in the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center, 60.37% are from Baguio, 11.94% from the other provinces of CAR, and 27.67% from non-CAR area.

From the target of 95% in 2022, however; 71.42% viral load coverage and 91.11% is virally suppressed. With the same target, the first semester of 2023 has 88.88 % viral load coverage and 100% virally suppressed.

The meeting last week for the finalization of the Implementing Rules and Regulations for Ordinance 16, 2021 (Baguio City HIV/AIDS Prevention Ordinance) was attended by Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, personnel from the Health Services Office represented by Nurse Gayhope Alangsab, Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC), representatives from Balay Marvi, Baguio Association of Night Spots (BANS), Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET), Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), Transcend, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC), People With Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) and other concerned agencies. – JGF