Author Topic: HIV TUMATAAS NA.... ANO ANG MASASABI NG DOH D2  (Read 333 times)

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Offline PrinceCharming

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« on: December 28, 2008, 07:12:35 PM »

Gov’t warns vs HIV danger in MSM sector

By Diana G. Mendoza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:31:00 12/01/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Amid the celebration of World AIDS Day on Monday, the health department is grappling with the problem of declaring an epidemic of HIV infection among a sector it calls MSM, or men having sex with men.

Increasingly, recent victims are students and young professionals.

The huge problem is that it could not declare this epidemic in the same way it does an outbreak of dengue fever because of the “gay” stigma implicit in it.

Dr. Eric Tayag, head of the health department’s National Epidemiology Center, sounded the alarm in October during the Philippine National AIDS Convention, a biannual event of the NGO AIDS Society of the Philippines.

Citing the health department’s HIV/AIDS Registry, a collection of reports from hospitals, clinics and treatment centers of laboratory-confirmed HIV tests, Tayag noted sudden, steep increases in HIV infection among MSM in the last three years.

The registry recorded 210 new infections among MSM in 2005, 309 in 2006 and 342 in 2007. This year, from January to September alone, there were already 395 cases, up 96 percent since 2005.

Tayag said there was nothing like this in the 21 years since the government kept an official record of HIV infections starting in 1984 when the first AIDS case was reported in the Philippines.

Because the cases were tremendously in excess of what was usually expected, Tayag concluded that there was “an ongoing HIV and AIDS epidemic among the MSM.”

“Several factors may be responsible but we believe MSM has become the new sexual norm (in HIV transmission),” he said. Independent behavioral studies, he said, have shown widespread unsafe sex in this group, such as the nonuse of condoms during anal sex.

“The die is cast,” Tayag said in an interview. The epidemic is likely to escalate and will not be contained in the next five years unless fearless, aggressive interventions are done, he warned.

The health department is attempting to engage in a dialogue with the MSM communities, but Tayag said those involved are either “invisible men” or “closeted” and not open about their sexual activities.

This is one reason why the health department is cautious in declaring the epidemic.

“We cannot predict the level of stigma and discrimination against MSM when we link the new findings to them,” Tayag said. “The last thing the health department wants is to label HIV and AIDS as a gay disease.”

Through the years, males comprised 69 percent of the total infections through heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual contact, with MSM triggering the bulk. MSM is grouped in the homosexual and bisexual modes.

Tayag noted that for the first time in 2007, homosexual and bisexual mode of infection surpassed heterosexual transmission—56 percent as against 43 percent; and from January to September 2008, it rose to 67 percent as against 34 percent.

He said that in the cumulative total of 1,097 infected MSM from 1984 to 2008, 49 percent were reported in the last three years alone; 108 have died when reported, and slightly more MSM were reportedly already with AIDS, the terminal stage of HIV infection.

The most affected age group among males has also moved younger—from 45 to 49 years old to 20 to 29.

Among the newly infected, Tayag said, “we are looking at a special population of 15 to 24 years old and we would like to see how HIV moves in this age group.” He said the 25 to 34 age group was also widely affected.

Yuppies among newly infected

Tayag said the newly infected—90 percent of whom were single—were mostly students and young professionals—a sudden departure from the sectors that health experts called “most-at-risk populations.”

These are freelance sex workers in the streets, those working in nightclubs and girlie bars, male clients of sex workers and drug users. Prostituted males who service other men are also in the newly infected MSM group, and they are also very young.

Because the registry is a passive surveillance system, he said the entire picture of HIV infection is not captured, but nevertheless provides a trend.

If the current rapid increases persist, there will be 10,000 to 12,000 HIV-infected MSM in the next three to five years.

There are now 3,456 cases in the Philippines from 1984 to September 2008. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS said the number of cases had been increasing at a “low and slow” pace at less than 1 percent until 2004 when the problem was declared as “hidden and growing.”

For now, Tayag said the predominance of MSM was highest in Metro Manila. Increasing infection rates were also reported in the cities of Angeles, Cebu and Davao.

Dr. Diana Mendoza (not related to this writer) of the Manila social hygiene center said her small staff was trying hard to do confidential counseling, but risky sexual behavior was widespread.

“These are men who know they have risks but they still have sex, if not with one partner that was unprotected, it’s with more than two partners, either male or female, often under the influence of drugs and alcohol,” she said.

For male adolescents and teenagers, the liking for a partner of the same sex, just for kicks, is common, and so are parties and orgies. Smoking, drinking and drugs are fixtures. In some cases, older men initiate the risky practices to the young.

“I often tell my patients, you should be scared, not other people,” Mendoza said.

The clinic staff even handles “double burden” personal problems when it comes to a patient’s disclosure of his medical status to his family of a practice still taboo in the country.

Evolving norm

Tayag said the shift in the mode of transmission was reflective of the evolving sexual norm.

“It is possible that same sex experience is enjoyed as an alternative behavior to opposite sex relationships either influenced by peers or by society’s permissiveness,” he said.

He said more studies were needed to reveal factors that influence this sexual norm. According to one such study in 2004, males are traditionally privileged in Filipino society and they have more sexual choices and freedom than women.

Men can have multiple identities, from highly masculine men whose primary sexual partners are women, through gay and bisexual men, to transgenders.

The study said prevention programs had often been limited by lack of understanding of the behaviors of different MSM subgroups and of the impact of those behaviors on the dynamics of HIV infection.

The settings are reflected in the 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey of 20,000 15-27 year olds that found out that twice as many males had had premarital sex compared to females (31 percent as against 16 percent).

It also revealed that 15.1 percent of sexually active males have had male partners.

Likewise, a health department and Family Health International study showed that 11 percent of 1,204 men in the general population had multiple sexual partners in the previous six months.

Dr. Ofelia Monzon, who pioneered the first medical studies of HIV and AIDS in the Philippines through the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, saw this epidemic earlier.

“Some of the men labeled MSM do have sex with females, showing a possible route for spread to others outside the group and so on,” she said.

According to Tayag, risky behavior often outweighs knowledge and awareness, citing results of a UN survey in the Philippines indicating that MSM have basic knowledge of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV.

Only two out of five men used a condom with their most recent sex partner but the use varied with consensual sex and paid sex.

Counseling on Internet

Providing information alone requires complementary efforts in reaching out to target populations such as MSM.

In Davao City, the NGO Wo/Men’s Access to Vital Education and Services (WAVES) is implementing HIV and AIDS counseling through Internet live chat and it is able to touch base with MSM.

John Roxas, executive director, said most of his organization’s MSM chatters were struggling with their emotions and ideas about their sexuality.

For a few who have come to terms with it, they believe they are men who happen to like and prefer to have sex with other men, Roxas said. Some have issues about “letting the girl in them but remain manly looking.”

The Internet is a good instrument to build rapport and a trusting relationship for both the MSM and counselors, Roxas said, encouraging local government units and NGOs to use this.

“The message has always been safer sex—correct and consistent use of condom with all sex partners,” he said.

Monzon lamented the gradual demise of many NGOs involved in prevention over the past years, pointing to constraints in effective public health programs.

“Public health prevention, such as AIDS control, require a strong interest on the part of those involved in public health, the financial support necessary for the institution of measures required, and the ability of health administrators to elicit budgetary support.” she said.

“The continuing emphasis on low and slow infection prevalence has detracted from the important observation that HIV infection is present in the Philippines, has been present for more than 20 years, and that efforts to maintain low numbers require continuing and intensive prevention efforts in order to keep those numbers low.”

---------------------------------------- -----------------------------


How to deal with HIV risk among MSM

First posted 01:46:38 (Mla time) December 20, 2008
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The article on HIV in MSM (men having sex with men), which appeared in the Dec. 1 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer) is indeed alarming, considering that the true picture of HIV infection in the Philippines is unclear due to underreporting and inefficient collection of data on people infected with the virus, as well as on individuals getting tested. Having worked on this concern in New York City for 14 years, I can say that the approach to reach out to Filipino MSM is no different from those used in other ethnicities, though religion and cultural backgrounds need to be factored into the intervention designs. I do recommend the following:

1. Aggressive outreach activities such as promotion of HIV and STD screenings in bars, clubs, where high-risk MSM congregate. MSM websites and publications should be used to send messages on HIV prevention and treatment. These activities should be multifaceted and multilayered.

2. Ongoing nationwide summits or dialogues among government, NGOs and stakeholders. Caregivers can represent the “closeted or invincible men” to voice their needs and concern.

3. Current interventions should be reviewed and modified, if necessary. With modern technology, programmed activities should be designed around them.

4. There is no one-size-fits-all. Preventive messages should be tailored according to their age range and within the MSM subgroup. A young man may not be able to relate to a message meant for middle-aged men; likewise, a bi-sexual or straight-acting gay man to a message meant for a transgender individual.

5. Make HIV testing part of a routine health care. Just like diabetes and hypertension screenings. Early detection is the key for living longer.

6. Pretest counseling must be client-centered. In this manner, the root cause of someone’s risk behavior can be identified and addressed immediately — e.g., internalized homophobia, low self-esteem or self-worth. It will also address issues on stigma and discrimination.

7. Make for easy access to condoms and literatures in bars, clubs, motels, hotels and other high-risk venues.

8. Encourage collaboration and dialogue with sex venue owners, local police, health department and NGOs. Police raids drive sex venue owners underground, which makes it difficult for NGOs and the health department to reach out to high-risk MSM.

9. Conduct trainings for all staff — from frontline volunteers to program managers. By doing so, the staff members are provided the latest information, data and trends regarding the disease. The trainings should include self-care for caregivers. This will promote, among others, role-clarification and self-awareness and address “burn-out” issues. Timely implementation is a key to preventing the spread of the disease.

Before HIV reaches epidemic proportions in our country, Filipinos should look into how Thailand was able to curb HIV infection among its MSM.

BRIC BERNAS (via email)

« on: December 28, 2008, 07:12:35 PM »
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Offline papito

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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2009, 01:58:38 PM »
At present, how does the Philippine government support or make effort in HIV/AIDS treatment. The report sounded like it was tracking the increase of infection however, it never mentioned how the infected individuals can get treatment (not just counselling, support) medication like what is done in Thailand or India. I heard those countries have good programs that help the HIV infected patients receive treatments.

Offline SCRepublic

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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2009, 10:28:00 PM »
this is alarming.... dapat gisingin yung mga health officials d2... iba na talaga panahon ngayon.. sobrang lilibog na kasi ng mga tao.... for sure dadami pa mga may hiv kaya kelangan mag ingat..

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Offline berto

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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2009, 06:18:11 AM »
I think it is one of the social issues that must be looked upon however even if we are to do some drastic things, there will still be an avenue to get HIV, I invoke that social awareness and education must be given utmost priority. Even if we strictly implement the use of condoms, even if the govt uses all the ads and the medias, the problem will still exist, I think there is a more deeper root issue that must be addressed, I dont tthink the government alone must address and resolve this issue, It is a social issue that every one must work on. Sad but everytime there is an issue, we blame the government and request for an immediate action, but we need look at ourselves, what do we do to help the government fix this issue. To fix this problem, we should educate everyone, the schools, workplaces and every possible avenue where sexual interaction may transpire or take place.

In Bangkok, the manner they resolve HIV was so drastic to a point that they legalized prostitution to moderate the no. of HIV recently, Thailand is one of the highest nos. of hIV victims. It didnot work.

My point is, the government tried to educate the people before through the use of media, but nothing happened, why? people clamored on the forefront that their rights and liberties are being withheld. Thus, the campaign stopped. If we educate the people, then we empower the people and we let the people participate. Let alone policy here wont work.

Pointing fingers will bring a drastic change.

I suggest that we instill education to young ones and inculcate it even in every homes and families.
So that such education will sprung to a more reasonable change, a peaceful change.
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Offline punkyjam

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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2009, 07:41:55 PM »
they said that around 1.3 million Filipinos dont know that they are HIV positive. This is shows...multiplication of possible people who got infected because of the ones who were affected did it w/o them knowing it before.

confusing...'s just an estimation. Based on the report of those who are +++. probably...they will calculate how many persons they had sex when they were already +++...


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Offline dyingYOUNG

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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2009, 07:06:13 AM »
over estimate, source please?

Offline punkyjam

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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2010, 03:56:55 PM »
HIV & AIDS Situation in the Philippines

eto napanood nyo na?

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