Sunday, September 19, 2010

MDG 6: Spreading Awareness, Not the Virus

Last May 2010, a news from Malawi caught the attention of HIV/AIDS advocates and UNAIDS where a gay couple (Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga) was sentenced with 14 years imprisonment with criminal charges of "indecent practices between males" and "unnatural offenses." Both were jailed in December 2009 and released after five months after charges against them were cleared. In some countries in Africa, homosexual relationships are considered a criminal case, and UNAIDS opposes the idea of criminalizing individuals because of sexual orientation. With this kind of mindset towards the third sex, who mostly are victims of HIV/AIDS aside from the sex workers and drug addicts, it hampers the campaign of UNAIDS, HIV/AIDS advocates and non-government organizations (NGOs) to prevent the spread of the virus from one “unknown” victim to another because they were forced to go underground of the fear to be imprisoned.

Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases are part of the United Nation Millennium Development Goal and it falls to number 6. In spite of the new technologies and “freedom” for most nations, the others see people living with AIDS as “modern lepers,” some still thinks that the virus can be transferred through sharing of public toilet, shaking hands, sweat and even just talking to the person. This is how I see it in countries that impose travel restrictions to those who are infected with the virus. It is a form of discrimination for these countries, despite having signed and agreed on the creation of UN MDG in 2010, where combating diseases, especially AIDS, were mentioned.

In the 122nd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union last March 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand, UNAIDS appealed to the remaining 52 countries that have oppressive travel restrictions against people with AIDS, to lift these conditions. Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS challenges the leaders to encourage their legislators in creating a law that will safeguard the rights and welfare of people living with AIDS.

In countries like the Philippines, there are NGOs and certain health centers that offer minimal cost medical check-ups in order to test if a patient is positive or not with HIV. Former Department of Health Secretary and now the Senior Health Adviser of United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA), Dr. Esperanza Cabral went out at the streets of Metro Manila during the Valentine’s Day to distribute condoms and informed everyone on how they can prevent the spread of the virus. The Philippines has Republic Act 8504 or The Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998, where it states that the law will defend the HIV/AIDS patients from any form of discrimination from workplace, schools, hospital, and other establishments. We may have laws like RA 8504 but in reality, the said act is weak and discrimination is rampant in some offices and establishments.

The challenge for this year’s Stand-Up Take Action and Make Noise for the MDGs is call on leaders who are going on the UN Assembly in New York to create an international policy that will strengthen the rights of people living with AIDS and lift the travel restrictions. For leaders to allocate budget for information drive and testing where their countrymen will have full awareness about HIV/AIDS and to become responsible by spreading awareness to the society, and enlighten them to help prevent spreading the said virus.


For HIV/AIDS testing, you may visit Social Hygiene Clinic - Manila Health Department at2nd Floor,208 Quiricada Street, Sta. Cruz, Manila. For inquiries, please call +63(2)711-6942 and look for Dra. Diana Mendoza or Ms. Malou Tan, Mondays to Fridays , from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can also call the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) at +63(2)7438301 local 2553 for counseling. Some of the accredited HIV/AIDS treatment hubs include Philippine General Hospital (PGH - contact number +63(2)5218450), San Lazaro Hospital (SLH - contact number +63(2)7408301 local 6000), and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM - contact number +63(2)8072628 local 801). For other AIDS hotlines you may call the following: Lunduyan Foundation INC at +63(2)4214953, Pinoy Plus Association INC at +63(2)5244507, Remedios AIDS Foundation INC at +63(2)5240924, and Positive Action Foundation Philippines INC at +63(2)8326239.

Subscribe to my RSS Feed via email! Enter your email address below:

Delivered by FeedBurner

No comments:

Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha Premium Blogger Themes | Best CD Rates | Seo Company | Seo Company Australia | Cheap Seo | Sports Live Stream | game cracks | Best Online Game | Download PC Games | List of Hobbies | Graffiti Styles