City of Koronadal, South Cotabato – The Regional Implementation Team (RIT) for Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH), chaired by Regional Director Francisco V. Mateo of DOH XII, conducted its 2nd quarter meeting on May 11, 2017 at Greenleaf Hotel, General Santos City.
There are five key result areas (KRAs) being monitored in the implementation of the RPRH, namely: a) maternal and neonatal (MN) health, b) family planning (FP), c) adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH), d) sexually transmitted infections/human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (STI/HIV/AIDS), and e) gender- based violence (GPB).
Dr. Ali Tumama, HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator of DOH XII, informed the members that one of the major concerns of the region is the high incidence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection which if left untreated will develop into a full-blown Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). He further explained that HIV attacks and destroys the body’s immune system and that there is no cure yet. However, carriers can live a normal life if they undergo antiretroviral therapy (ART).
City Health Offices (CHOs) in the region serve as Social Hygiene Clinics (SHCs), that provide testing on sexually transmitted diseases STI/HIV/AIDS. In SOCCSKSARGEN, General Santos CHO is a satellite treatment hub for HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Tumama shared that HIV can be transmitted through four (4) body fluids, namely: a) blood, b) semen, c) breast milk, and d) vaginal fluid. Conversely, tears, saliva and sweat cannot transmit HIV. HIV is transmitted by having unprotected penetrative sexual intercourse with an HIV-positive person, an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy/delivery/breastfeeding, sharing of HIV-contaminated needles/syringes and other injecting equipment, and blood transfusion or organ transplant of HIV-contaminated blood and blood products.
Dr. Tumama said that the current goal is to attain “zero AIDS” and he encouraged the support of various stakeholders to stop or prevent the transmission of HIV infection. In line with the prevention, he advocated the ABCDE which means A-abstinence, B-be mutually faithful to your partner, C-correct and consistent condom use, D-do not do drugs and share needles, and E-education and early diagnosis.
The table that follows shows the 1st quarter 2017 report on HIV/AIDS cases in Region XII prepared by the Epidemiology Bureau of DOH.
In March 2017, around 73% (32 cases) of HIV/AIDS were recorded in South Cotabato (including Koronadal and Gen. Santos Cities). Of the total number of cases, General Santos City has the highest case of 27.27% (12 cases) and closely followed by Koronadal City at 22.72% (10 cases). During the 1st quarter of 2017, the region has recorded a total of 68 HIV/AIDS cases and 64.70% (44 cases) were recorded in March 2017.
With the challenges confronting the implementation of RPRH, the RIT pushed for the strengthening of the implementation team both at the regional and local level. In line with this, provincial level implementation team shall be organized within the year.
Further, RIT appeals to all its members, other agencies and Local government units to help in advocating the five key results areas of RPRH law and the “zero AIDS” goal through dissemination of information. (Evie A. Cabulanan, NEDA XII – DRD)