LGU Intervention in HIV Spread Needed
May 30, 2015
BAGUIO CITY – The rise in number of recorded cases of human immunodeficiency virus or HIV in the country has been described by the Department of Health as “fast and furious”.
With increasing number of recorded cases of HIV in Baguio since 1984, dealing with what Philippine NGO Council on Population Health and Welfare (PNGOC) Executive Director Dr. Eden Divingracia calls a “more a social development concern rather than a disease”, requires the strong presence of local government units (LGUs) in intervening with the spread of HIV.
During a workshop for civil society organizations and media practitioners, Divingracia shared one model of innovation in HIV prevention in Quezon City. PNGOC and the Quezon City LGU teamed up for a social hygiene clinic called Klinika Bernardo in Cubao. It has become a model for clinics dealing with HIV for in the daytime, Divingracia said, the clinic delivers services such as testing, counseling, distribution of antiretroviral drugs to persons living with HIV (PLHIV).
In the daytime the clinic caters to sex workers at the “population at large”, but from 5:00-11:00 PM the clinic caters to gays and transgenders who prefer to avail of services away from the public eye. Such a set up values the importance of confidentiality in the issue of HIV/AIDS.
Divingracia further said that in the clinic, peer educators motivate vulnerable groups (i.e. men having sex with men or MSMs and transgenders) to go the clinic and take the test.
The clinic also has a case management system in place wherein a service delivery network gives patients referral systems when going to hospitals. Also taking into consideration the socioeconomic conditions of patients, PNGOC has enrolled them in PhilHealth to avail of health insurance and has also partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Divingracia said it is a “tried and tested” module that has been adapted in Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Parañaque City, Taguig City, and Mandaluyong City.
She said Baguio City can also adopt a similar facility through collaboration among advocates, the city government, and the local AIDS Watch Council./JDP/Pryce E. Quintos- PIA-CAR