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PIA Press Release

DOH 8 urges media to help reverse HIV epidemic

Tacloban City (1 December) -- In connection with the World Aids Day being commemorated today, the Department of Health Region 8 through Dr. Eduardo Pedrosa, head of the Information and Dissemination Bureau, urged the media and the Philippine Information Agency to help in reversing the HIV/AIDS epidemic across Asia and the Pacific including China through massive information dissemination and advocacy campaign.

Dr. Pedrosa who was guest at the Harampang at PIA today said that in the Philippines there are 1,515 aids cases reported as of June 2001. The Department of Health however, believe that there are more cases that are not reported because of varied reasons and so the actual cases may be determined by multiplying the reported cases one hundred times.

Dr. Pedrosa clarified that when we say that a patient is HIV positive, he is positive of the virus but without any manifestations yet. On the other hand, an AIDS patient already have the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Asked on the number of HIV positive cases in the Region, Dr. Pedrosa said that DOH 8 know of four reported cases. Two are prostitutes from Samar and the other two are male government employees who are still employed up to the moment. Dr. Pedrosa said that the families of these employees are not aware of the condition of the male employees.

The patients have the right to privacy which is being protected by RA 8504 or the Philippine Aids Prevention and Control Act. This means that the patient may or may not report that he is HIV positive, he may not even tell it to his wife or parents.

The problem is the HIV/AIDS patients are free to roam around and contaminate other unknowing people with the disease.

According to the report of World Health Organization, drugs and prostitution are driving the HIV/AIDS epidemic across Asia and the Pacific including China where the virus has spread to all 31 provinces and regions despite efforts to contain it.

There is a need for the local government executives to "act boldly and urgently" to reverse the course of the epidemic, Dr. Pedrosa urged. He said that the media plays a very important role in the prevention and control of the dreaded disease. (PIA 8) [top]

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