MANILA –The Department of Health (DOH) said it is very important that the public will not stigmatize patients infected with Human Immunodefficiency virus (HIV).
According to DOH Acting Secretary Janette L. Garin, one reason why some victims were afraid to come-out because of fear that instead of getting assistance on how they can cope with the psychological impact, they will be condemned by the society.
Garin said that fear of stigma serves as a barier and contributes to the spread instead because the patient is being deprived of the chance to be informed more about how HIV can be transmitted and how important it is to have protection on the part of their susceptible sexual mates.
She added that there is a need to give enough support for the patient afflicted with HIV for they could be the possible source of solution to the rising problem that affects the median age or the age where a person can be at the peak of his/her career or a young professional with a promising future.
She added that while there is no available drug yet that can kill the virus, there are measures that can help prevent the spread and delay in evolving into full-blown which the public and young population should be more aware of aside from the campaign which were in placed.
She said that as a support the HIV patient should also be given enough counseling that it is not the end of the world for them.
She added that the public should also be made aware that a person infected with HIV can still be normally hugged, kissed and even can eat within the same plate with a non-HIV patient without being transmitted with HIV.
“Actually it will take five litres of saliva from an HIV patient to be able to transmit the virus to others,” she explained as she pointed out that a patient should not be isolated.
She added that it is also important to understand that usual modes of transmission of HIV is through sexual contact, needle-sharing among injecting drug users, blood transfusion and mother to child transmission.
She said that unlike ebola virus disease (EVD), HIV is a silent disease that is sweeping our society and the younger generation should be more aware on how to be protected.
“One Filipino can possibly be infected with HIV every one and a half hour,” she added.
She added also that exercising vigilance, being well-informed and knowing how to have protection or through “safe sex” is the key not to be infected with HIV aside from abstinence.
She added that it will help a lot if the “unlicensed prostitutes”, male having sex with same males to voluntarily seek a check-up and practice “safe sex”.
“However, if it is really impossible to have a 100% abstinence, we advise them to use condoms so as not to spread the disease.
At present the “condoms” were primarily distributed for free in the health centers for the purpose of family planning only among those under the lower economic status.