HIV/AIDS cases rise: A great challenge to the millennium? PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 07 June 2015 14:32

By Arthur Joshua S. Rodriguez

The drastic increase in the number of HIV/AIDS cases in Zamboanga City motivated organizations to conduct a Free HIV/AIDS test aiming to spread awareness of the dreaded disease, with its range approximately increasing to more than a hundred.

HIV/AIDS is a virus that is usually transmitted by unsafe sexual intercourse, use of shared paraphernalia like syringe for blood transmission or even drugs. This kind of disease is no longer new, but its increasing number has alarmed the Department of Health.

During the 1st City AIDS Congress, a testimony was given by an HIV positive.

“I would like to thank the person who gave me this [My ex-boyfriend] if not because of him I will not be able to know my purpose in life, if not because of my condition I will not be able to learn how it feels to be strong. I am here in front of you showing you what the face of HIV positive looks like. What we need now is not be outcaste but to have support from people who form part in the community. It’s never easy to be in this situation, but because of my condition I believe that I will be able to make a difference in my life,” Jack (not his real name), a  27-year-old gay who was diagnosed as HIV positive last September of 2014.

“HIV/AIDS is alarming, but we want to take this positively. We know that we can have this in control,” Dr. Rodel Agbulos of City Health Office said.

In Region 9, years back then the rate of HIV/AIDS cases is manageable in a way that people are very particular about safe intercourse, but at present people now find sex topics as awkward and they find it odd whenever sex is being tackled.

“Gone are the days when HIV/AIDS was once a stranger in Zamboanga City,” said Cong. Lilia Nuño of District 2.

HIV/AIDS is described as human disease that ravages the immune system.

Dr. Jejunee Rivera said that “HIV/AIDS is here to stay, we need to look for solutions on how tohave it controlled.”

Different organizations supporting the advocacy of combating HIV/AIDS convened to initiate a massive campaign in strengthening the awareness about HIV/AIDS in the city.

Asked what could be the solution to prevent this, Dr. Rivera said:  “We must begin to educate our children to value their body.

The number of HIV/AIDS cases in Zamboanga is high in the stage of the youth.  Alarming in a sense that today’s generation seems to be enjoying pre-marital sex.  in the region 5% of 10 engage into it at an early age.

Organizations like Vida Vivo De Zamboanga, Mariposa, PLCPP, and Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) are eager in spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS.

The call to address the need to keep the number balanced was supported by Vida Vivo De Zamboanga, an organization of HIV/AIDS positive. The major aim of this organization is to show support and give guidance as to how to handle the situation. Roderick Pinion, president of the said organization said that “It is important to think about the present before the future because we have to be practical and real that our choices at some point lead us to the wrong path, so take care of our body and always think twice”

But why do sexually active gays don’t like to get tested?

The common notion that was lobbied was “I do not want to know my condition because I know I am practicing unsafe sex, as a gay I am afraid to know. It will mentally disturb me so I would rather let it be, as it is,” Paul, a 20-year-old gay from Tetuan.

The culture of apathy has always been a problem; people take things complacently without even thinking about the consequences that may take place at the end of the day. MARIPOSA president Edwin Abu said “No one has the right to judge you. Only God can. So let us love each other, in love you can never go wrong”.

Another reason is that “I know I am safe, I am not that active unlike others. I do practice sex but I do it rarely with random guys so I think I am still okay,”. Nelson, an 18-year-old gay from Cabato Road.

“I do not want to get HIV/AIDS test, it scares me. But sex is free so what can I do, I learned how to love it, but I think what is hindering me from getting tested is the fact that I am afraid to disappoint my family with my behavior,” Marvin, 23,  from Guiwan.

Massive campaign about HIV/AIDS, and its level of effectiveness

“I already have five certificates about HIV/AIDS seminar. And it’s always the same,” John, a college student.

Doing a campaign for HIV/AIDS is not easy; sensitivity should be present and felt. Though its already a must to get people involved, to give them better understanding but what seems to be the missing link, Is it really the  test that hinders sexually active gays to get tested or it is in the approach that we do?

In the status quo, we have to realize that the increase in the number of cases indicates good and bad effects. Good in a sense that we are getting people aware about their status, the bad thing is how are we going to control it, how can we stop this increasing phenomenon? Should we use images, life stories or what not? This battle is a long process.

But it is for people to know that HIV/AIDS can be helped through organizations like Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) which aims to spread the word that “HIV can be prevented”