MANILA, Philippines To intensify the fight against HIV and AIDS in the country, the Department of Health (DoH) urged that information on the modes of transmission, prevention and control of the disease be integrated in the curricula in all schools nationwide.
The countrys HIV and AIDS situation has reached alarming proportions as it is now described as expanding and growing, now at about 5,000 cases, from the previous low and slow and hidden and growing' phases thus requiring intervention at the school level, said Cabral.
Rule 2, Section 6 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 8504 or the National AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998 provides the rationale of HIV-related education and information campaigns, said the health chief.
The provision indicates that the provision of timely, adequate, appropriate and relevant HIV education and information shall empower persons and communities to think and act in ways that protect themselves from HIV infection, minimize the risk of HIV transmission and decrease the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS.
Risk behaviors for acquiring HIV-AIDS are high among males who have sex with males (MSM), people in prostitution and people who inject drugs (PWID), according to the 2009 Integrated HIV Behavioral Serologic Surveillance results.
These groups are considered the most-at-risk populations (MARPs), while young adults, overseas Filipino workers, persons with multiple sex partners, and partners of those in the MARPs are considered as vulnerable.
To address these, the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) have all integrated HIV/AIDS issues and concerns in their respective plans and activities, said the health chief.
The DoH, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) have also entered into a Joint Memorandum Circular to implement the Regional AIDS Assistance Teams that will provide technical assistance to HIV prevention and control activities of LGUs. For their part, LGUs are putting up Local AIDS Councils and launching AIDS awareness activities, the official added.
People living with HIV are also conducting education initiatives and forming support groups to other HIV-positive Filipinos and their families. Some groups leading this effort are the Positive Action Foundation Philippines Inc. (PAFPI), the PinoyPlus Association and BabaePlus Association.