ILOILO — To strengthen the response to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), the Provincial Health Office (PHO) is proposing to reactivate the council that focuses on its prevention and control in every local government unit here.
LAC has been established in all LGUs pursuant to Republic Act 8504 (Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998) and DILG Memorandum Circular 99-233 dated December 9, 1999. But upon monitoring, majority of these councils are no longer active at present.
According to Medical Technician II Ruth Elgario of PHO, an active LAC is important to ensure LGU’s support and participation in various campaigns to prevent and control HIV/AIDS.
LAC can also be an advocacy group that can work on policy development as well as in behavioral surveillance and in insuring standardized serological testing and counseling.
The proposal awaits the approval of the Department of Health-Center for Health Development Region 6.
Once approved, a series of workshop on LAC and reorientation of sexually transmitted infection coordinators province-wide will be held accordingly.
The workshop will help identify the gaps in the sustainability of LAC and the corresponding strategies to address these gaps.
As defined in the law, LAC must be headed by the chief executive and co-chaired by the Sanggunian committee chairman on health, while the STI focal person serves as secretary.
The municipal or city health officer, social welfare officer, and representatives from concerned national government agencies, organizations of persons living with HIVs, business sector or academe, act as members.
Meanwhile, Provincial Health Officer Patricia Grace Trabado is encouraging individuals who are at risk of HIV to subject them to test and avail the services provided by government.
HIV can be transmitted from one person to another through blood transfusion, injecting drug use, body organ donation, needle pricks, breastfeeding, and unprotected sex.
Up to now, no drugs have been developed to cure HIV but there are anti-retroviral drugs that can dramatically reduce mortality and morbidity, prolonged lives, and improved the quality of life of many people living with HIV & AIDS. JAN