Caption: Boel Espinas of DoH-7 talks about Gender, Sex, Sexuality and Reproductive Health during DSWD-7’s orientation on STI/AIDS prevention for survivors of human trafficking.
CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES (January 23, 2015/for #newmedia) — The increasing number of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) positive cases has pushed for the intensified education of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) or Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office VII for its part conducted an orientation on STI/AIDS for survivors of trafficking.
“We are doing this kind of activity to prevent possible epidemic,” Rosemarie S. Salazar, DSWD-7 focal person on family welfare, said.
She added that the activity is also in support of the Republic Act 8504 also known as the “Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998.”
Close to 40 human trafficking survivors from Metro Cebu attended the said orientation that took place at Hotel Asia, Cebu City on January 16,2015.
Among the topics discussed during the whole day event are the rationale of STI,HIV and AIDS education by Cynthia Baldado; Gender, Sex, Sexuality and Reproductive Health by Boel Espinas and the Impact of HIV and AIDS by RV (true name withheld).
The presentation of RV, a registered nurse and the program manager of Cebu Plus, highlighted the activity.
During his presentation he first asked the participants to present a “situationer” on how they would react if they will meet people living with HIV; he then shared a story about “Arvie”. After the story telling RV revealed that he is actually Arvie and is also among those PLHIV or people living with HIV (the politically correct term, not “victims” as is used by most media practitioners untrained on this particular topic).
He then appealed to the participants to help his group address stigma and discrimination because like trafficked victims they also suffer from such dilemma despite the existence of RA 8504. Cebu Plus is a Philippine nongovernmental organization that provides HIV and community support services for key populations including men who have sex with men.
Recent study’s revealed that the number of HIV new cases is steeply rising. From an average of 16 new cases reported every month in 2001 to 2005, it has now reached to five to six cases every day.
Mary Francis Yap, a social work student of Saint Theresa’s College who attended the orientation expressed that her greatest learning was the clarification on the mode of HIV transmission. “I find it most important because it answers the myths and unnecessary paranoia about HIV.” (Phoebe Jen Indino-PantawidPamilya Information Officer/linear editing by MEEV)