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PIA Press Release

Daza chairs Northern Samar AIDS Council

By Nene A. Manzanares

Catarman, Northern Samar (30 October) -- To express solidarity with the rest of the world in the fight against the spread of the dreaded Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), the Northern Samar Provincial Health Office in coordination with the UNICEF recently organized a Provincial AIDS Council.

ďSa South Africa, mas damo pa nga mga tawo kontra sa populasyon sa Northern Samar a nagkamatay sa sakit nga AIDS. Tikang sa pagdiscover sa sine nga sakit, maabot na 2 million an nagkamatay sin AIDS sa South Africa." (In South Africa, the number of people who died of AIDS is greater than the population of Northern Samar. Since its discovery, there are now 2 million who have died of AIDS in South Africa). Thus said Northern Samar governor Raul A.Daza during the organization of the Provincial AIDS Council early this month at the Ibabao Hall of the provincial capitol.

Daza said that the organization of the council is one form in preventing the spread of AIDS. He further warned that prevention efforts are very important since the cure for this dreaded disease is yet unknown.

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that causes AIDS. HIV could be present in the human body for several years without showing any symptoms and thus could be easily spread to others. It primarily affects the defense mechanisms of the body making it unable to fight diseases and infections.

A person with HIV could look healthy and may not know that he has the virus. When symptoms do appear, they can be like those of many common illnesses such as swollen glands, coughing, fever or diarrhea. These symptoms could vary from those affected with the virus. Only an HIV Antibody Test can really confirm if the person concerned is affected with the disease.

So what is AIDS? It stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is a combination of signs and symptoms resulting to a deficient immune system. It is considered as a consequence of HIV infection.

HIV/AIDS is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, infected blood and blood products in a transfusion or organ transplant, sharing of needles and other injecting and skin piercing instruments and from an HIV positive mother to her baby during pregnancy, delivery and breast feeding.

HIV/AIDS can be prevented by: abstaining from sex and by avoiding pre-marital sex; maintaining a mutual monogamous relationship (avoid extra marital sex); practicing safe sex or the use of condoms, or engaging in non-penetrative safe sex practices like hugging and kissing. Needle sharing or drug injection should be avoided. If this is really necessary, new disposable needles and syringes should be used. In case of blood transfusion, the blood sample should be tested negative for HIV and other infections.

Participated in by some twenty participants, an orientation-seminar was conducted before the council organization. "HIV 101" was discussed by provincial HIV/AIDS coordinator Clennette Ong; "Northern Samar STI/HIV/AIDS Situationer" was explained by the provincial health office AIDS coordinator Jeane Pelayo, while project development officer Lilia Varela talked about the ďAIDS Council Sampler: Davao City." UEP coordinator Margarita Royandoyan presented RA 8504 (Philippine AIDS Law).

The provincial AIDS Council is composed of Northern Samar governor Raul A. Daza as chair with provincial health officer Mary Ann Avalon as co-chair. Council members are heads of the following agencies/organizations: Philippine Information Agency (PIA), entertainment/establishments, PNP, UEP, DepEd, selected NGO, Sangguniang Panlalawigan chair on health; SP chair on Women and Family Relations, DILG, Províl. Social Welfare Development Office, Provincial tourism Office, PLAN Philippines, TESDA, DOJ, League of Municipalities, Women for Social Development, Provincial Budget Office, Catarman Diocese, PPDO and Dance Instructors Association.

The council presently awaits an Executive Order from the Office of the Governor. (PIA Northern Samar) [top]

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