HIV-infected sex-trade worker gives health officials the slip in Bicol

By , on October 10, 2014

Shutterstock photo
Shutterstock photo

NAGA CITY, Philippines— A female sex-trade worker who tested positive for the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) has disappeared from the radar of health authorities in the province of Albay. A government doctor said that the woman was last he was last spotted this year in Bato and Nabua towns, in the province of Camarines Sur.

The HIV-infected woman was described by Dr. Ferchito L. Avelino, head of the Philippine National AIDS Council, as fair-skinned, in her 20’s, 1.5 meters (5 feet) in height, with a tattoo on her left breast. She tested positive for the virus at the start of this year, Dr. Avelino said at a meeting of the Naga City AIDS Council.

According to Avelino, authorities urged the woman to stop working in the sex-trade industry, but she did not respond to their unction. They learned that she had left Albay for Camarines Sur before losing track of her whereabouts.

The doctor added that it is a problem to get HIV-positive sex workers to stop their sex trade, as it is a challenge to provide alternative means of livelihood away from the sex industry. This, in turn, bears a significant impact on curbing the spread of the virus.

Avelino was part of the team that studied the spread of HIV in the country. He pointed out that HIV cases are on the rise in the Philippines, particularly in a certain industrial area of Metro Manila, which the team discovered to be a hotspot for nighttime sex orgies.

HIV spread is commonly attributed to unsafe sex practices, unprotected group sex, sharing of needles among drug users, and sometimes through blood transfusions, Avelino said.