HIV, Pinays, and the Reproductive Health Law
Sometimes when I’m looking for story ideas to pitch to my editors, I check my shortlist of credible sites to get a feel of upcoming slants and the latest trends. For general news, I go to CNN, BBC, and the Inquirer. For business, it’s usually Fortune and Entrepreneur. For health, I refer to WHO and DOH. When I was looking for a story to pitch to Women’s Health Philippines a few years ago, I browsed WHO’s website and discovered their AIDS campaign. That’s how I ended up writing an article about the current HIV and AIDS situation in the Philippines for Women’s Health Philippines last December 2013.
Anyway, especially since World AIDS Day is held every December 1, I’d like to post a few of the valuable inputs Dr. Ferchito L. Avelino shared with me about HIV and the RH Law. Dr. Avelino is the Head of Staff of the Philippine National AIDS Council Secretariat and Medical Director III of the DOH. He was also my main resource person for the said article:
RH Law benefits
Dr. Avelino believes that the RH Law will give women more opportunities to access available services and information. It will enable an environment that will assure Filipinas with sound judgment regarding her life. The aforementioned law, however, does not just concern itself with women’s health. It also takes into account men’s health and other key components, like the management of post-abortion complications, though it does not encourage abortion.
Furthermore, the law also tackles the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and the availment of safe and scientifically proven commodities that ensure that women will have the capacity to manage their fertility. Dr. Avelino describes HIV as the leprosy of the 30s and the TB of the 50s. He hopes that the dawn of the implementation of the RH Law can ultimately change how people think and look at the situation.
Numbers to note
When I interviewed Dr. Avelino, the statistics were on an upward trend. It’s sad to note that – two years hence – the numbers are still steadily increasing here and also among teenagers in Asia. How can this trend be reversed? In my opinion, it boils down to effective and efficient information dissemination via the utilization of resources such as social media and smartphone apps. But that’s fodder for another article. 😉
Speaking of information, if you know anyone who might have a pressing concern about these topics, you may give them the follow contact information:
National AIDS and STI Prevention and Control Program
Contact number: 651-78-00 local 2353
Philippine National AIDS Council
Address: PNAC Secretariat, Third Floor, Building 15, Department of Health, Manila, Philippines
Contact numbers: (632) 651 7800 locals 2550 to 2553
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Image from the DOH.