The Quezon City health department is targeting a bigger prevention coverage for individuals at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections in a bid to manage and control the spread of STI/HIV/AIDS in the city. Those with exposure to male-to-male sexual behaviors are considered to be the most-at-risk.
Under the city health department’s plan, at least 80% prevention coverage shall be provided to the more than 20,000 MSM (men having sex with men) population in QC by 2016.
Based on the latest HIV/AIDS registry of the city health department, about 38% of the total MSM population in QC had undergone voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) in 2014.  The figure indicates a 4% increase in the number of MSM who have undergone the VCT in 2013.
“What we need are long-term interventions and sustainability of programs for the city’s AIDS prevention and control effort,” said city health department officer-in-charge Verdades Linga, during an action planning workshop of the Quezon City STI/AIDS Council (QCSAC) last Friday at Robbinsdale Hotel at Araneta Avenue .
During the workshop, the QC health department, through QCSAC, announced the launching of an MSM communication plan to highlight the city’s continuing effort to reach out to the MSM population in the city.  The plan, will feature, among others, the dressing up of the Klinika Bernardo, which is known as the first government-run male sundown social hygiene clinic.
“What we will be doing is to make Klinika Bernardo more MSM friendly,” Dr. Linga said.           Aside from the Klinika Bernardo, the city health department is also planning to launch the program in other MSM clinics.
To date, there is an intensive effort from the QC health department to manage and control the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections in the city. Apart from the creation of a functional Quezon City STI/HIV/AIDS Council, the city government’s program includes the establishment of social hygiene clinics, conduct of regular outreach VCT, HIV/AIDS lectures to occupational permit applicants, and implementation of related ordinances requiring all health certificate applicants to attend HIV/AIDS seminars.
Last year, QC’s investments for HIV amounted to P54 million.  Of the amount, at least 45% was provided for by the city government.
Based on the AIDS/HIV registry of the city health department, there are about 575 reported HIV cases in QC in 2014.  Of the total, 70% of the cases involved sexual transmission by men having sex with men (MSM).(Maureen Quiñones, PAISO)

Posted By: Edrillan Pasion


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