Department of Health (DOH) – MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) in partnership with Project Red Ribbon Care Management Foundation, Inc. has conducted a 5-day HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome) screening among residents and awareness education for tourists of Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro from April 12-16, 2017.
“This year we are focusing on the screening of local residents and encouraging them to take a voluntary screening to be able to know their HIV status and at the same time be given better access to services such as counselling and treatment,” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo stated.
“I also encourage residents and also visitors to join the HIV seminars to gain more knowledge and further understand the virus to prevent its spread in the community,” he added.
As of April 14, 2017, there are a total of 2,880 condoms and 2,400 lubes distributed and 153 voluntarily screened. There are six available testing clinics located in Sabang (3) and White Beach (3).
Among the daily activities include morning and afternoon beach side HIV screening, education and awareness, testimonials from patients, beach wide condom and lubricant distribution.
According to Janairo, Puerto Galera is one of the most highly visited places during the holy week, especially by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community. “We must exercise vigilance, practice safety and always use protection”.
As of February 2017, (HARP) HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines, there are now a total of 849 HIV cases recorded. It is 13% higher compared to the same period last year with 751 cases. Most cases (95%) were male with from 1 year - 64 years old.
The regions with the most number of reported cases were: National Capital Region (NCR) with 310 (37%) cases, Region 4A with 129 (15%) cases, Region 3 with 102 (12%) cases, Region 7 with 79 (9%) cases, and Region 11 with 52 (6%) cases. An additional 177 cases (21%) came from the rest of the country. MIMAROPA contributes 1% of the total number of cases with 1 positive case in Oriental Mindoro recorded in January 2017.
The Project Red Ribbon Care Management Foundation, Inc. a non-stock, non-profit foundation registered under the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines, that provides HIV awareness and assists in the treatment and care of persons living with HIV (PLHIV) and has been a partner of the DOH-National AIDS/STI Prevention and Control Program and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine-Aids Research Group (RITM-ARG) since its establishment in 2011.