AIDS advocates use social networking to educate high risk sector

Published: May 11, 2011

DAVAO CITY, May 11 (PIA) – Advocates of HIV/AIDS are now starting to penetrate social networking sites that cater to MSMs or male having sex with male to provide information about the high risk involved in MSM relationships.

Eddie Batoon of IWAG Davao considers the trend of social networking as a big opportunity for HIV-AIDS advocates as easy communication equates to easy access.

“Since there is no law that prohibits the public to join this kind of social networking site, what we do in IWAG Davao is we try to penetrate the network site and do some education campaign and information dissemination on the risk of unsafe sex that may lead to HIV-AIDS,” Batoon said.

The rising incidence of HIV cases has alarmed the advocates, noting that this quarter alone, the city has recorded 22 HIV-positive patients, a record breaking high as compared to last year’s annual rate of 39 HIV-positive patients in the region.

Dr. Jordana Ramiterre of the City Health Office admitted the lack of resources in providing health assistance to patients who suspect to have or already have HIV infection.

“We now have dwindling resources since Global Fund will soon end their assistance on providing condoms and other services,” she said.

However, the CHO will continue its education campaign to reach out to high risk population in the community.

Even in the absence of a popular face that would help promote such advocacy just like the role of AIDS activist and educator Sara Jane Salazar who was the second Filipino to go public with HIV, the health department still brings with them HIV-positive patients to give testimonies in barangay fora or any education drive conducted by the office.

National figures showed that there are 159 new HIV Ab sero-positive individuals confirmed by the STD/AIDS Cooperative Central Laboratory. This is a 22 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Most of the cases are males while the median age was 28 years. The 20-29 year age-group has the most number of cases. Fifty-six percent of the reported cases were from the National Capital Region.

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