PIA Talakayan at the Limketkai Luxe Hotel Discusses HIV’s Current Status in Cagayan de Oro, What Can Be Done and LIMA: Pagdawat Press Conference

PIA Talakayan at the Limketkai Luxe Hotel Discusses HIV’s Current Status in Cagayan de Oro, What Can Be Done and LIMA: Pagdawat Press Conference

On Tuesday, the Philippine Information Agency Region 10 in partnership with the Limketkai Luxe Hotel, once again held its weekly program, Talakayan sa Limketkai at PIA, at the Kave Restaurant function room of the Limketkai Luxe Hotel. The program’s topic deals with HIV-AIDS Awareness in Cagayan de Oro and the Philippines as well as a press conference for LIMA: Pagdawat, a stage play sponsored by the Northern Mindanao AIDS Advocates Inc. (NorMAA Inc).


According to Mr. Ian Jose Baang of the Infectious Diseases Cluster, Department of Health (DOH) – Northern Mindanao, as of June 2016 alone, there are 841 reported HIV/AIDS cases in the whole Philippines, and not in Cagayan de Oro as previously reported in mainstream media. Of this number, 2 percent are from Northern Mindanao, making the region only the 7th in most number of cases, and not number one as again previously reported by mainstream media.


Showing DOH statistics, persons inflicted with the disease are mostly male and the age group with the highest number of cases is between 15 and 24 years old. This shows that not only are the majority of cases coming from the so-called “millennial” generation but also from the present “GEN-Y” generation. The top modes of transmission of the disease, again based on the statistics, are sexual contact, needle sharing among injecting drug users, and infected mother’s milk as a result of breastfeeding.


The guests at the Talakayan also emphasized the increased efforts of government and non-government organizations in working together to step up the information campaign on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines, how to prevent from getting the disease, and helping stop the stigma and misconceptions against those who have been infected with the disease.


It was also emphasized in the program that persons infected with HIV/AIDS should no longer be called “victims” or “sinners” but rather, People Living with HIV or PLHIV for short. It was further emphasized that not all persons infected with HIV/AIDS can be termed as “victims” or intentional in action such as the cases of children being affected due to breastfeeding from infected mothers.


Part of the discussion focused on stigma and misconceptions by most people on how the disease is transmitted, often leading to the ostracizing or rejection of PLHIV’s. According to Fritzie Estoque, chairperson of the Misamis Oriental Cagayan de Oro AIDS Network (MOCAN), a group that is working towards HIV-related causes, emphasized that HIV/AIDS cannot be transmitted by merely holding any part of the body, hugging, kissing (even torrid kissing), sharing food or drink, and sharing eating utensils because the virus cannot be transmitted even through saliva and is not an airborne or water-borne disease. The virus dies in 2 seconds when exposed to air or watery fluids.


HIV/AIDS can only be transmitted from an infected person through the blood (sharing of injection needles and blood transfusion), seminal fluid and vaginal secretions during sexual penetration, and mother’s milk through breastfeeding. Anal penetration is also dangerous since seminal fluids can seep into tears in the anal cavities after penetration.


When questions arose about the wrong mainstream news handling of DOH statistics in the past in misconceiving Cagayan de Oro as number 1, it was emphasized that although Region 10 is only the 7th in infected cases, it is number one in terms of infected cases due to sexual contact as a result of male-to-male contact and mixed LGBT contacts.


However, the hosts and guests all pleaded with everyone that nothing will be achieved if a single sector is singled out for bias, misconception, and stigma because anybody can be infected since HIV/AIDS has no specific target in mind. The DOH representatives made it clear that since the virus itself is incurable, PLHIV’s are given antiretroviral therapy (ART) and counseling to suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of any disease that takes advantage of the body’s weakened immune system.


A short video was also shown of a personal interview with a present PLHIV male who is now active with advocacy work on HIV/AIDS. Although the interview video was highly redacted to protect the identity of the PLHIV, the interview was very moving due to the extreme experience of the interviewee.

LIMA: Pagdawat Press Conference 

Part of the Talakayan program was the press conference conducted by members and actors from LIMA: Pagdawat, a stage play sponsored by the Northern Mindanao AIDS Advocates Inc. (NorMAA).


The play is to be staged on December 2, 2016, at the Rodelsa Hall, Liceo de Cagayan University. There will be a matinee show in the afternoon and a gala show in the evening.


As a stage play, LIMA: Pagdawat is the second installment in its HIV monologue series that started last December 2015. It emphasizes through its actors what PLHIV’s feel and experience when they are diagnosed as positive with the disease, as well as having to face their families about this.




LIMA: Pagdawat is also part of the campaigns of NorMAA to emphasize total awareness towards Persons Living with HIV and that these persons have all the right to live normal lives since they are in no danger of spreading any infectious disease while undergoing antiretroviral therapy themselves.


Just before the end of the Talakayan program, some of the actors gave excerpts and samples from the expected stage play. The group’s spokespersons during the program were Stephen Christian Quilacio and Maia Fortich-Poblete.

No Comments

Post A Comment