DOH Bicol to step up in condom use campaign vs HIV

DOH-5 Regional Director Ernie Vera announced his plan to tap the media in the promotion of condom use during a press conference in Legazpi City earlier this month. (Photo  by Casandra Balala)

LEGAZPI CITY—As it seeks to stop the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the Department of Health in Bicol (DOH-5) plans to do more in the promotion of use and distribution of condoms.

“We can control HIV. The implementation of condom use program was the strategy of Thailand to prevent and lessen HIV cases,” Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH regional director for Bicol, said.

Vera said Thailand had an HIV epidemic before, but the Philippines’ neighboring country addressed the problem through the implementation of a condom use promotion strategy.

DOH data showed that from last January to September, Bicol reported 229 cases of HIV, a virus that infects cells of the immune system, making the patient vulnerable to infections, a condition called acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). The virus can be detected 11 days after a person had a contact with a person with HIV.

Vera said condoms are free at rural health units. He appealed to local government units to enact an ordinance that supports the condom use program under RA 8504 or the Philippine HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act.

Condom use is intended not only for family planning, but also for disease prevention, he said. “Sadly, there is a low utilization of condom in the Philippines.”

Vera said DOH-5’s ABCDE campaign will give emphasis to condom distribution and use to reverse this underutilization. ABCDE stands for Abstinence; Be Mutually Faithful; Consistent use of Condom; Do not Abuse Alcohol or share needle; and Education—the safe sex practices espoused by DOH.

DOH statitics also reveal that the Philippines has 32 new HIV infections each day. The mounting number of new infections has been acute among men who have sex with men.

“Right now, DOH Bicol is engaging the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community to become part of the advocacy to prevent HIV,” Vera said.

Through several conventions, DOH welcomed the LGBT as its partners and advocates who could encourage their peers to undergo HIV tests, he added. (PIA-5)


Powered by Blogger.