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HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) Training Workshop: A PDS and PSV Partnership in cooperation with Department of Health
The first HIV case in the Philippines was reported in 1984. As of June 2016, the country has a cumulative case of 34,999.8 From 1984 until 2007, the country’s epidemic was characterized as low and slow; however, starting in 2008, the transmission became fast and furious. To date, there is no indication that the transmission will slow down. From an average of one new case a day in 2008, the country now registers an average of 26 new cases a day. The unprecedented increase in incidence prompted the Department of Health (DOH) to identify its prevention and control initiatives in key populations and vulnerable groups by including HIV as one of the 12 Legacy Agenda under the current Duterte administration.
As the country’s HIV epidemic continues to rapidly accelerate, the need to scale up and synchronize the country’s response becomes more imperative. More than a health issue, HIV is a development issue requiring a concerted multi-sectoral response. This is the same reason why Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS) and Philippine Society of Venereology (PSV) jointly offered to partner with DOH to help the government in its quest to achieve its medium-term plan in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in the country.
The Sixth AIDS Medium Term Plan (2017-2022) recognized HIV counseling and testing (HCT) strategy as one of the preventive intervention for key populations at risk. HIV counseling and testing is being promoted to the key populations because through this intervention, those who have HIV risk are given the opportunity to know their HIV status, and at the same time are provided with information on the risk reduction strategies and referred to relevant support facilities. Furthermore, providing counseling prior to and after HIV testing is mandated by
Republic Act No. 8504, “The AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998”
On July 4-6,2018, the PSV and PDS, in cooperation with the Department of Health, through the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau – National HIV, AIDS and STI Prevention and Control Program (DPCB-NASPCP) and Global Fund HIV Project through Save the Children Philippines, Inc., organized the very first collaborative project between the 3 institutions for the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in the country by offering HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) Training for our members. This was held at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
The importance of HIV Counseling and Testing includes:
- HCT helped millions of people to know their status either they are positive or
- HCT helps in preventing the spread of
- HCT allows the public to have access to medical care when tested
- HCT educates people who tested negative on the ways to stay negative and for a positive test result, how to live positively without infecting
- HCT provides critical information about HIV and the testing
- HCT gives information about how HIV is transmitted and how the public can protect themselves from infection.
- It also educates the public to know that HIV testing should be done
PSVI and PDS believes that testing for HIV is the gateway to prevention, care and treatment. We believe that HIV testing, and counseling (HCT) should be routine test for everyone, as this is the surest way to guarantee an HIV free generation in the future.
We hope to be able to train as many members as possible. Talks are now on-going for the second leg of the program.