Baguio RHWC intensifies campaign against STI and HIV/AIDS
by Lito Dar
Baguio City (13 February) -- The Department of Health (DOH) recently reported an increase in HIV/AIDS cases in the country.
Locally, based on the data of the City Health Services Office - Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC), there were five positive HIV/AIDS cases recorded in 2009, which brings to 35 the total number of positive HIV/AIDS cases monitored in the city since the early part of 2000 with 17 deaths.
Emilio Callao of RHWC stressed that since the surveillance operation, they conducted entertainers on night bars, streets, karaoke bars and other city night hangouts in the third quarter of 2009. They have monitored no new positive cases of HIV/AIDS, though he also confirmed that in same surveillance operation, they have monitored an increase in sexually Transmitted infection or STI cases particularly gonorrhea and syphilis cases.
Jeannie Boquiren, also of RHWC, reported that their clinic has recorded 779 STI cases in 2009, of which 87 were gonorrhea and 36 were syphilis cases. This increase in STI cases is alarming, she said.
Boquiren explained that syphillis it is a proxy indicator of HIV/AIDS, meaning whenever there are syphilis cases, there is also a high possibility of HIV cases, since they have the same mode of transmission.
She also informed that the surveillance round they made in the third quarter of 2009 resulted to the discovery of nine positive cases of Syphilis and for last month alone, they have already recorded 63 positive cases of STIs, wherein two are syphilis cases.
With these developments, Boquiren stressed that the RHWC intensified its advocacy campaign through lectures, interviews and IECs to promote awareness against HIV/AIIDS and STIs. The RHWC is also presently busy in the renewals of working (health) permits of registered entertainers and the registration of new entertainers, which according to the trend they have monitored, is expected to grow in numbers in time for the Panagbenga where more tourists are expected to arrive in the city.
As for the call center industry in the city, Boquiren asserted that they have not yet monitored any STI or HIV/AIDS cases involving people working in the sector, though she also encouraged call center establishments to coordinate with them for a possible conduct of a reproductive health seminars or lectures.
In a separate interview, RHWC head Dr. Celia Flor Brilliantes cited that they are currently coordinating with the Education Department for the full utilization of the www.bonjing.org, an HIV/AIDS IEC website, initiated by the RHWC, through the help of the Baguio AIDS Watch Council (AWAC).
We already got the support of DepED Baguio for the utilization of the bonjing website in all secondary schools in the city and are just waiting for the final action of DepED's Baguio Division's management Committee," Brilliantes said.
According to Brillantes, the bonjing website will play a very important role in education the young adults on reproductive health, as the said website aims to educate or to answer the curiosity of adolescents or young adults, in relation to their sexuality and reproductive health, which they feel shy to ask or would not dare to ask from another person.
"The frequently asked questions of young adults that will be gathered through bonjing will also be utilized in the production or printing of IEC materials or booklet," Dr Brilliantes added. (PIA) [top]