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PIA Press Release

DOH encourages 'AIDS in the workplace' program

Bacolod City (23 March) -- With the increasing number of infected HIV-AIDS patients in the last three years as noted by the Department of Health, it is encouraging and supporting programs to counter the increase.

Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral who was in Bacolod last week revealed that there is a very drastic increase in the number of cases diagnosed per day from 1 case per day three years ago to two cases in 2008, 4 cases in December of 2009 and 4.7 cases diagnosed per day as of January 2010.

Majority of these recorded cases belong to the economically-productive age group.

To this effect, Cabral explained that the business sector is in a position to help curb the rising trend in HIV infections by setting up policies and programs in the workplace. This program is also in consonance to provisions in Republic Act 8504 of the AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998.

In line with this, the DOH chief said that the DOH and DOLE has put out memo on safety in the workplace not just on HIV but also on STDs and other risky behavior.

Infectious disease experts in the Philippine Government Hospital noted that many of the young adults who come to them who are HIV positive are call center agents.

Cabral noted that it is not the fault of the call centers, rather it has something to do with risky behavior that young adults usually engage in and risky behavior which include smoking, drinking, lack of sleep, lack of exercise particularly risky sexual behavior.

"With the memo, it?s now with the call centers themselves to make sure they comply with the guidelines that DOH and DOLE have put out," Cabral said.

The health chief in a statement added that HIV/AIDS program in the workplace is a vital response because the disease increases business costs like increased burden of healthcare provision, lower productivity of infected employees, loss of skilled workers, increased risks in the workplace and indifference among employees. (PIA/EAD) [top]

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