Greetings to all my readers! Happy birthday to my doctor!
Before I continue with the prevention strategies let me mentioned the local statistics of HIV infection as of July 2008. There were 53 who tested positive to HIV and more than half of it was through homosexual contact. It brings the total since 1984 to 3,358 and according to my doctor; there are 63 who were tested positive in SLH alone this August. You can check the NEC at www.doh.gov.ph and click the HIV icon there for updates.
Our duty is to move from ABC to SAVE. S stands for safe(r) practices, A is for access to treatment, V is for voluntary testing and E stands for empowerment.
Safe(r) sexual practices include all avoidance and risk reduction strategies like abstinence, delay of first sexual experience, mutual faithfulness in marriage, and correct and consistent use of condoms and reduction of number of sexual partners. It also includes policies and procedures to ensure safe blood supply, sterile equipment, adoption of universal precautions, and prevention of mother to child transmission, provision of sterile needles and syringes for injecting drug users and post exposure prophylaxis or PEP. You will notice that ABC is present already within safe or safer practices.
Access implies more than only the availability of medications, and the word "treatment" encompasses more than the word "medication". Therefore "access to treatment" includes the availability of medication, as well as access to the medication and all the necessary support services. It includes the access and availability of medication like ARVs, treatment of STIs and other OIs, treatment - education and support such as access to blood tests for monitoring and adherence as well as counseling, and nutrition for people with compromised immunities or on ARVs.
Access also implies the availability of comprehensive and correct information and education in order to make informed decisions for prevention, care and support. It also implies a supportive environment where stigma and discrimination have been reduced.
Next post I'll talk about the V and E.
Source: "Channels of Hope" workshop manual.