February 28, 2024

The Department of Health-Cordillera emphasized the significance of a whole-of-government approach in the prevention and treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

 “Ginawa na natin in the past na hindi natin na-involve ang community, hindi natin na-involve ang karamihan ng local government units, hindi natin na-involve ang mga treatment hubs, lahat ng strategy, ang gumagawa, si DOH. Anong nangyari? Tumaas pa rin naman nang tumaas ang kaso,” Regional HIV Program Coordinator Darwin Babon said during the Annual Regional AIDS Assistance Team (RAAT) meeting.

The DOH-Cordillera reported from 1984 to June, the region recorded 1,008 HIV cases, 73 of which were recorded from January to June. In the same period, seven HIV-related deaths were also reported.

With the alarming increase in HIV cases in the region, Babon said it’s about time different way of addressing such concerns is implemented and this can be done by involving partners, regional line agencies, and other stakeholders.

Babon thanked the active participation of the Bureau of Jail Management Penology in the RAAT, as among the priorities are persons deprived of liberty.

In 2018, the DOH conducted HIV testing in one of the jail facilities in the region.

“We have to put in mind na siyempre, ‘yung mga taong ito, hindi permanente sa loob. In time, they would be reintegrated to the community,” he said.

He added the Department of Education also has an important role, especially since most of the HIV cases reported involve students. – Debbie E. Gasingan