Lady legislator models Bohol HIV testing drive

If only to personally jumpstart the World AIDS Day and its succeeding activities, a nurse and sitting legislator in Bohol, volunteers to have a Human Immune deficiency Virus (HIV) testing December 1, at the Panda Tea Garden and Suites.
Waiving her right provided by the Philippine AIDS Control and Prevention Act, Third District Board Member Jade Acapulco Bautista, formerly US based nurse by and now a legislator at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in Bohol subjected herself to an HIV testing and in fact, performed for herself the capillary pricking necessary to extract sufficient blood samples for the test to determine reactivity.
Intending to help but still constrained to a task she is demanded to do as a legislator, BM Bautista said she is still open to suggestions in legislating measures to reverse the spread of HIV, a deadly virus, especially in Bohol.
Herself the SP Committee chair on Health and Public Sanitation, BM Dano who sits as a model for HIV testing as a medical professional, allowed herself to the test, if only to show there is nothing to fear, in fact, get a reassurance that one can keep an HIV-free status from then on.
“It is more reassuring that one can get an additional sense of responsibility especially in advocating for more protection and in maintaining the already attained HIV status,” another Department of Health nurse Nickson Felix Epe said.
Dano, who said Bohol’s [anti-HIV] campaign is doing very well, also admitted further that sustainability of the campaign can only be attained with everybody’s cooperation.
“The Provincial Health Office is doing very well [as regards the campaign], but they can not do it without everybody’s cooperation,” she said.
Dano’s act is also in line with the local efforts to curb the HIV epidemic which has become “alarming.”
A United Nation’s study bared that the Philippines has the fastest growing HIV epidemic in Asia and the Pacific.
Data in the study showed that in 2010, there were an estimated 16,000 HIV cases in the Philippines. By 2017, the cases have been estimated threefold to 67,000 and by the same estimates, by 2022, authorities fear the cases can reach 142,000, “if we remain to have the same level of response,” nurse Epe stressed.
In the Philippines too, 94% of those who are newly diagnosed for HIV are male, and more than half of these males are aged between 25-34 while some 28% are of the 14-24 age bracket at the time of testing.
But this does not exclude females too. From January to September in 2018 alone, there were 467 newly diagnosed cases and of the country’s female cases reported in the 15-24 age group skyrockets from 13% in 199 to 29% in 2018.
Of these, sexual contact remains to be the predominant mode of transmission at 98%, DOH data shows.
While the National Capital Region still keeps the most number of newly diagnosed as to residents they shared during the testing, Region 7 or Central Visayas ranks fourth owning 10% of the newly diagnosed cases.
The problem with HIV is that the only cure is prevention, unlike other diseases where prevention is better than cure, stresses Epe.
Over the staggering data and disheartening exponential increase in affected cases, health authorities have called for HIV testing.
The more the virus has taken control of the body, the bigger is the chance that one can fall into the opportunistic infections that could hasten the development of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), explains Bohol HIV coordinator Mila Israel.
Over this, health authorities have batted on Information Education and Communication as something any anti HIV advocate can easily contribute.
This Monday, December 3, Bohol is holding an HIV and AIDS Summit at the Reynas The Haven and Gardens.
The summit aims to expound on HIV in the context of the Community, Health Care, the Government and the School.
After 8 parallel sessions, organizers would be engaging participants to join in the signature drive for HIV Awareness in the hope of establishing a new awareness and consciousness demand, and this finally, health authorities can inject the necessary information that can guide young teens to un-informed or ill-informed adults about the risks of HIV and to the community. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

WAIVING HER RIGHTS. If only to assure people that there is nothing to fear about HIV testing, BM Jade Bautista presents herself as a model to jumpstart Bohol’s HIV testing drive even as health authorities said early detection can also mean early introduction of anti-retro-viral treatment to dampen the spread of the disease. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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