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by Ferliza Contratista

Her Majesty Freddie Mercury, lead vocalist of the band Queen, and whose life portrayed in the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” (I still have the LSS’es until now) died of AIDS. That was 25 years ago when talking about the infliction of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which could lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) was a hush hush.

There is a cause for alarm, AIDS in Cebu has now become, not just an epidemic but a pandemic which means that the illness has affected a greater part of the population in a given locality or sector and is rising fast. 

I learned just today from Department of Health (DOH7) Nurse 2 Francis Irvin Baring, that the province of Cebu owns up 91 percent of the 5,356 cases of HIV in the entire Central Visayas from 1984 up to September this year. Take note, 4,913 of these cases are in Cebu City and mostly in the “night sector”.

Mandaue City we have 333 cases, Lapulapu City with 229, Talisay City, 139; Danao City, 66; Consolacion, 56; Minglanilla also with 56; Naga City with 35 cases and Toledo City with 31 cases. 

This means, most vulnerable are those working on night shifts, like in the call centers to be precise. Oh yeah, we’ve heard about the alleged promiscuity in those establishments, like there is like a perceptive permission to go with the flow as your body clocks adjust to the other time zones (libido included coz Filipinos are known to be tamed). 

And yes, this is now becoming an accepted reality of same sex love, in particular, of males having sex with males (MSM) as, the leading cause of transmission of the HIV nationwide.  You know, those “condomless” sex, spontaneous expressions of love or whatever.

One of the last photos of Freddie Mercury in 1991/Reddit
Other causes of transmission include other kinds of sex with partners of same sex, different sex or both and mother to child transmission.  

But Cebu is unique, you know why? When the rest of the nation owes MSM as the leading cause of transmission, ours here is the use of needles for injection of drugs! I repeat, use of needles for drug injection.

I thought that those white crystalline substance, metamphetamine chloride otherwise known as shabu are becoming more expensive with the expected low supply due to the extensive eradication efforts. 
Information materials on HIV and AIDS are
available at PIA, DOH and barangay health centers

Nurse Baring said, the drug for injection is nubain and some they mixed it with shabu for that ultimate high. NUBAIN? Are you kidding me? This is a pricey regulated drug!?

While DOH announced they had already reached out to warn and educate 80 percent of the companies in the night sector this year, this portion on the source of supply of these drugs by the law enforcers also need to be closely, seriously looked into and acted upon. 

Statistics don’t lie. These are proofs of success and failures, pave way for improvement to happen. 

Now let’s go back to AIDS. 

Fortunately those with AIDS can live long like normal people do.  Thanks to these Anti Retroviral Treatment (ART) which is a daily maintenance, the HIV may be tamed, not to be that strong to destroy faster the immune system. But this means, one will also have to tame already the libido, adopt a healthy lifestyle. 

Baring said there are even cases when successful and continuous intake of ART will make the HIV no longer transmissible.
Francis Irvin Baring, nurse 2 DOH7, explains the status
of AIDS cases in the province. (contributed photo)

There you go, I’ve shared the good side of the bad news. Well that should be the case always, in everything  negative, we squeeze out the positive so we’ll do better next day or next time as we go onstage life. 

By the way, kissing doesn’t make you acquire HIV. You’d need at least eight liters of saliva to have it. And condoms are still free. Approach the barangay health centers, pag may time. 

Till next!

1 comment:

  1. My best friend was from Cebu. He died from this disease. I'm still sadden at the thought of his death. We really do need more research in this area and it need to be wiped from the earth.