MANILA–The Department of Health (DOH) – MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) together with Project Red Ribbon Care Management Foundation, Inc. conducted a five-day Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV) screening among residents and awareness education for tourists of Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro from April 12-16, 2017.
“This year we are focusing on the screening of local residents and encouraging them to take a voluntary screening to be able to know their HIV status and at the same time be given better access to services such as counselling and treatment,” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said.
“I also encourage residents and also visitors to join the HIV seminars to gain more knowledge and further understand the virus to prevent its spread in the community,” he added.
As of April 14, 2017, a total of 2,880 condoms and 2,400 lubes have been distributed and 153 voluntarily screened. There are six available testing clinics located in Sabang and White Beach.
Among the daily activities include morning and afternoon beach side HIV screening, education and awareness, testimonials from patients, beach-wide condom and lubricant distribution.
According to Janairo, Puerto Galera is one of the most highly visited places during the Holy Week, especially by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community. “We must exercise vigilance, practice safety and always use protection”.
As of February 2017, (HARP) HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines, there are now a total of 849 HIV cases recorded. It is 13 percent higher compared to the same period last year with 751 cases. Most cases (95 percent) were male with from 1 year to 64 years old.
The regions with the most number of reported cases are: National Capital Region (NCR) with 310 cases or 37 percent, Region 4A with 129 cases (15 percent), Region 3 with 102 cases (12 percent), Region 7 with 79 cases (9 percent), and Region 11 with 52 cases (6 percent). An additional 177 cases (21 percent) came from the rest of the country.
MIMAROPA contributes 1 percent of the total number of cases with 1 positive case in Oriental Mindoro recorded in January 2017.
The Project Red Ribbon Care Management Foundation, Inc. a non-stock, non-profit foundation provides HIV awareness and assists in the treatment and care of persons living with HIV and has been a partner of the DOH-National AIDS/STI Prevention and Control Program and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine-Aids Research Group (RITM-ARG) since its establishment in 2011.