The HIV program follows a step-wise fashion:
- Provide information about HIV
- Counselling and Testing
- Linkage to Care
- Treatment Adherence
- Step 1 can be done by ANYONE provided that the information is correct. Failure of this step could mean that factors are preventing it from being achieved. Such factors include the conservative attitudes of religion.
- Increasing cases can be interpreted 2-fold:
- They are increasing because more people are getting tested and linked to care; and more people are riskier with their practices.
We are trying to address Number 2 by providing and being aggressive in information campaigns. DOH cannot do it alone.
The IECs promotes testing since it is our “weak link” as information drives have been made by various organizations in different venues. IHBSS (Integrated Behavioral and Serological Surveillance) will tell us that even among Key affected populations, testing remains very low at 9% to 11% at most (Source: IHBSS, Epidemiology Bureau, DOH).
There are gaps in the program that lead to patient fall out, particularly that of long lead time to getting test results. Hence, the program is exploring ways and means to get more testing done fast specially among those who have the highest risk.
As to the behavioral aspect of the program, IHBSS is done on a biennial basis (every odd years) to see the trends in HIV and STIs. Qualitative studies have also been done by DOH Epidemiology Bureau regarding the behavior of MSMs (Males having Sex with Males) on testing and condom use.
The trend from 2006 shifted from heterosexual sex workers who are women and their male clients to the recent increase in cases among MSM. Perhaps it’s the success of the program that diminished the cases among this KAP (Key Affected Population).
There are treatment guidelines as to when patients are given ARVs (Anti-RetroViral). If the PLHIV (Person Living with HIV) is eligible under the guidelines then he or she will be given treatment. It is also the choice of the person whether to start treatment or not, following that he or she has been undergoing adherence counselling.
It is true that DOH can’t provide everything since the HIV program alone requires at least 3 to 4 Billion a year for it to be comprehensive. More than half of the HIV program is allotted for ARVs alone and the budget includes procurement of other essential commodities such as condoms, lubricants and test kits. It is also apparent to lobby that the local governments can help by hiring essential personnel such as peer educators and counselors, as well as ensuring a budget for their Local AIDS Council.
The HIV program is not the sole responsibility of the DOH, public and private agencies can help by spreading information in their companies and linking them to testing sites, which, in turn will link them to proper care in the treatment hubs with the goal of Viral loads of PLHIV to be undetectable.
Maintain prevalence of HIV & AIDS among the general population at <1%; and
Maintain prevalence of HIV & AIDS among high risk or more vulnerable population at <3%.
AREA OF COVERAGE
POLICIES AND LAWS
STRATEGIES, ACTION POINTS, AND TIMELINE
Passing of the AIDS Ordinance/Resolution/Local AIDS Council (LAC);
Zamboanga City (City Ordinance 234)
Zamboanga del Sur (Provincial Ordinance No. 019-2006)
Municipality of Sindangan, ZN
Municipality of Roxas, ZN
Municipality of Ipil, ZSibugay
Municipality of Diplahan, ZSibugay
Municipality of Tungawan, ZSibugay (Resolution)
Municipality of Imelda, ZSibugay (Resolution)
Establishment of the Service Delivery Network (public/private partnership) for PLHIVs;
Organizing/Activating the HIV AIDS Core Team (HACT) in all private and government hospitals;
Hiring of (5) Provincial Program Assistants for the 3 provinces (in Aug 2014 & (3) in 2017) to assist in reaching the goals/targets/advocacy & take the test activities/collection of reports/addressing issues and concerns;
CALENDAR OF ACTIVITIES
PROGRAM MANAGER CONTACT INFORMATION