BONTOC, Mountain Province- Five individuals were found out to be positive of Human Immune Virus – Acute Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) in Mountain Province based on the records of the Department of Health (DOH) from 1984 to present.
This was disclosed by Development Management Officer IV Claudio Pancho of the DOH– Mountain Province Provincial Office during the regular Monday Flag Raising Ceremony held at the Provincial Capitol on December 11, 2017.
Pancho shared the ABC method to avoid and prevent the transmission of HIV-AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). The ABC stands for Abstinence, Being faithful or loyal to your partner and Correct and consistent use of condom.
The hand book on “HIV –AIDS for Health Workers” provided by the DOH, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Remedios AIDS Foundation Inc., explains that HIV is transmitted from one human being to another through unprotected penetrative sexual intercourse with an infected partner; unsafe blood transfusion, unsafe injection; and from an HIV-infected mother to her child during pregnancy, labour, delivery and through breast feeding. Accordingly, HIV hits the body’s defense mechanism that act against viruses. Immunodeficiency means that the body is unable to fight infections making it susceptible to pneumonia, tuberculosis and cancer. AIDS refers to clinical manifestation of HIV infection that are only seen when the body falls ill due to opportunistic infections.
The handbook further clarifies that HIV cannot be transmitted through air; saliva, urine and feces; mosquito bite; talking with person with HIV; borrowing clothes from an HIV-infected person; sharing utensils and drinking from the same glass with person living with HIV; shaking of hands, embracing and kissing; toilets; and swimming pool.
Provincial Family Planning Coordinator and Nurse III Dolores B. Te-elan of the Provincial Health Office (PHO) said that counselling and free HIV testing are being offered at the Rural Health Units (RHUs) in Bauko, Bontoc, Sagada, Tadian and Paracelis, and hospitals in Mountain Province such as the Luis Hora Memorial Regional Hospital (LHMRH), Bontoc General Hospital (BoGH) and Paracelis District Hospital (PaDH).
Te-elan added that in partnership with the DOH- Provincial Office, the provincial government through its PHO are continuously conducting massive information and education advocacy campaigns on prevention and awareness to combat HIV –AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). These are though radio guesting and information drives during flag raising ceremonies and provincial and municipal activities.
While STIs are treatable, health authorities remarked that the public should be aware and informed of the preventive measures. STIs are infections that are passed from one person to person through sexual contact. The DOH and PHO enumerated that common STIs are gonorrhoea, chlamydia, HIV, Hepatitis B/C, herpes, genital warts, syphilis, pubic lice and scabies. The common signs and symptoms are unusual vaginal discharge, unusual penile discharge, sores/ ulcer, burning sensation when urinating, swelling of the scrotum, and redness or itchiness around the vaginal or pelvic area.
Health officials further mentioned that it is important that possible carriers of STIs are advised to do self-examinations and have themselves tested at their local health units.
“Most STIs are treatable and it is the early detection that spells the difference between the easy and the difficult one. Left untreated, STIs may lead to serious complications for men, women and new-born babies. Complications include infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and pelvic inflammatory diseases,” as cited by the HIV –AIDS for Health Workers handbook.
Meanwhile, Governor Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. emphasized the province’ commitment in eradicating the disease, increase awareness and fostering understanding to the victims.
Lacwasan also solicited the involvement of all concerned government agencies and various stakeholders in the massive information education campaign for everyone to practice safe sex as a means to avoid infection.
World AIDS day is commemorated December 1 of every year. With this year’s theme, “My Health, My Right”, it encourages people to share their views and concerns in ensuring their right to health and to create a movement highlighting the importance of erasing health inequalities.
By Alpine L. Killa