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An HIV/AIDS watch council is needed, according to a health executive in Baguio.

A local health authority has called for the formation of a group tasked with stepping up efforts to combat the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus-associated acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS).

Dr. Celia Brillantes, Assistant City Health Officer, stated the city has registered 40 HIV/AIDS cases since the start of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in a phone interview Monday.

This brings the total number of cases registered since the local administration began its case surveillance methods in 2017 to 110, she said.

She claims that the majority of people infected are guys having sex with other men (MSM).

She added the municipal council is currently considering draft legislation titled “HIV/AIDS Program in the City of Baguio.”

One of the ordinance’s goals, according to Brillantes, is to establish the Baguio City AIDS Coordinating Council (BCACC), which will be tasked with coordinating the efforts of the city government, civil society organizations (CSOs), faith-based/youth/women organizations, academia, and the private sector to promote healthy and non-risky sexual behaviors and work for HIV/AIDS prevention in the city.

“The Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) will be able to aggregate all the HIV/AIDS data in the city from the many medical institutions that will help determine the prevalence of the virus in the city,” she said, referring to the coordinating council.

She went on to say that the HIV/AIDS epidemic affects not just people’s health but also their socio-cultural and economic circumstances, necessitating the formation of a coordinating council made up of representatives from numerous agencies, offices, and organizations.

“In order to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic, we must pool all of our resources.” Our HIV/AIDS program would collapse if we couldn’t seek aid from outside the city administration. As a result, we’d have a lot of cases coming into and out of our RHWC,” she explained.

The proposed measure also includes provisions to protect the rights of those living with HIV/AIDS.

She went on to say that the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) referral system and the network would be used to remove HIV-related stigma and prejudice while also promoting confidentiality.

According to Brillantes, the City Health Services Office (CHSO) continues to improve the conduct of information and education campaigns among the targeted sectors of the community to ensure that they are well informed of the city government’s ongoing programs, projects, and activities aimed at assisting them in dealing with the situation.

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