MORTIFY THE BODY AGAINST
By Ernesto T. Solidum
The Weekly Kapihan on November 28, 2015 had a lone guest Dr. Cornelio V. Cuachon, Jr. , Provincial Health Officer I. He discussed the topic “Updates On HIV/AIDS” in connection with the World HIV/AIDS Day celebration on December I. Part of the activities is the conduct of free diagnostic examination and counseling by a team of health practitioners at the lobby of DRSTMH to interested parties.
Dr. Cuachon, in a power point presentation, mentioned that Human Immunology Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) as of 2014 have infected 36.9 million people worldwide, of whom 1.2 million died. The majority are sexually active adults totaling 34.3 million, 17.4 million of them were women.
In the Philippines, the total reported cases from January to September 2015 is 5,901.`The cumulative total is 28,428 from 1984-2015. Of this number, asymptomatic or no outward signs are 5,537 cases. While full blown AIDS are 364. AIDS death for the above period is 191.
For Region 6, there appears to be rapid progression of diagnosed cases from one new case per day in 2008 to 22 in 2015. The reported mode of transmission is through sexual contact (639 cases for males and 28 for females) and having sex with men (MSM)-338 cases homosexual and 239 bisexual.
From 1986 to September 2015, Aklan had asymptomatic cases of 48 and 14 AIDS. The highest asymptomatic cases are found in Kalibo (17) and Malay (11). However, AIDS incidence was found only in Kalibo with 6 cases. The recorded deaths over the years are 2 in 2013: 3 in 2014, and 7 in 2015.
HIV is a virus disease that destroys the body’s natural defense or immune system leaving a person vulnerable to life-threatening infections. AIDS is a condition wherein the individual’s immune system is already immunocompromised and can no longer fight off infections. An individual may suffer from 2 or more opportunistic infections and would experience a collection of symptoms which could be fatal. HIV has no cure but treatable and preventable. AIDS is the end stage of HIV infection but not all HIV cases lead to AIDS.
There are 4 modes of transmission which are: a) through blood and blood products: b) unprotected sexual intercourse: c) pregnant mother to child transmission: and d) sharing of needles. Contrary to popular belief, HIV is not passed through kissing, shaking hands, using public toilet, mosquito bites, sharing eating utensils, urine, stool, saliva, tears, sweat and other body secretions.
For best advice, a person must submit to HIV antibody test conducted by trained medical personnel of Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital where anti retro viral drugs are available for free. Other centers are Boracay, Malay and Kalibo. DOH has released 300,000 pesos as financial assistance to the Provincial AIDS Council’s campaign for info awareness and prevention. An invaluable ally is NVC Peer Educators who campaign among high school students initially in Balete and Libacao.
There are 5 preventive measures which are: a) A-abstinence, b) B-Be faithful to one’s lifetime partner, c) C- correct use of condom, d) D- don’t share needles and e) E- education and early detection. Dr. Cuachon admits that condom use is limited to 54 percent. Even though the product is available, there is 21 percent user rejection.
Some 12 deaths happened in Aklan due to AIDS over the past 3 years. While the recent prevalence of HIV/AIDS for the country has reached 20 percent, in Western Visayas, the figure is only 5 percent or 32 cases. Aklans share in the Regional data is very small- one-third (1/3) that of recorded incidents in Iloilo or Negros Occidental. Nevertheless there is a need to be vigilant since there is a danger of HIV/AIDS moving from MSM and commercial sex workers to the general population. There is a dire lack of info among young adults (15-24 years old) with 79.4 percent having no knowledge about HIV/AIDS. As per result of 2013 research done by UP Population Institute in Western Visayas, the glaring misconceptions are: HIV/AIDS is curable, reduced incidence when having sex with 1 uninfected partner (how do you know you’re the only one) and vast majority (71.6 percent) believes they are invincible to the disease.
The worldwide scourge is deeply entwined with morality. The preventive measures are too familiar to ignore but the carnal mind is powerful and one is seduced by its passions. Abstinence is only momentary and short-lived but the best fitting advice is mortification since it involves killing the sexual urge that dominates the individual. Christians are admonished to put to death the deeds of the body in order to live (Romans 8:13). There can be no other way to manage the problem, but by not indulging in sex other than with your spouse./MP