The gathering of journalists over the weekend in an artsy and stylish hotel here in Davao turned out really explosive.

Just like any other trainings, the event went through a slow, almost difficult, pace that initially bored me—sending an irresistible soporific effect on me which was only snatched by the overflowing supply of coffee that saturated the alcohol I consumed the night before.

Later, however, everything went popping right into our very faces, leaving the air filled with a frozen dense of dread, horror, compassion, and inspiration. Nah…this not about just anything.

This is about people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) in the Philippines and the rest of the world.

Initiated by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the training was aimed at educating the media about the sensitive and proper way of reporting about pandemic.

It was like putting human face into the stories. It was like humanizing the stories. It was like—the pandemic is more than the numbers and the map. That there is more to it and that is putting human face into it.

Difficult? Not really.

First off, let’s talk about the numbers as presented by the Alliance Against AIDS in Mindanao (Alagad-Mindanao), a leading alliance of reproductive health advocates on sexually transmitted infections, HIV and AIDS prevention, care and support.

As of June this year, at least 33 new HIV cases were reported, 17 (52%) of which were males and 16 (48%) were females. The age range is 19-55 years old. Predominantly, the group said, the mode of transmission was through sexual contacts—heterosexual (21%), homosexual (9), and bisexual (2).

Of the 33 new cases, Mike Mahinay of Alagad-Mindanao said four cases were reported as AIDS cases, three of which were males.

The group said that from January 1984 to August this year, there were 2,566 HIV cases reported, of which 1,835 (72 %) were asymptomatic and 731 (28%) were AIDS cases all over the country.

Of the 2,566, 891 or 35 percent were overseas Filipino worker, with seafarers hitting the top list with 303 cases or 34 percent.
In Davao city today, at least 18 cases were recorded as people living with HIV-AIDS, seven of which were already dead.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS-World Health Organization (UNAIDS-WHO) said that AIDS is “among the greatest development and security issues facing the world today.”

In the global map, the Sub-Saharan African region was identified as the region with highest number of recorded cases of people living with HIV-AIDS with 24.5 million, 2.7 million of which were new infection recorded in 2005 according to the UNAIDS-WHO.

Following was Asia with 8.3 million, 930,000 of which were new cases and Latin America with 1.6 million, with 140,000 new cases. Other regions identified in the UNAIDS-WHO lists were North America and Western and Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Middle-East and North America, Carribean, and Oceania.

The UNAIDS-WHO said that as of 2006, there are around 65 million people infected wth HIV-AIDS with more than 25 million death cases since 1981. In 2005, the agency said, 2.8 million people died all over the world because of the virus.

The agency noted that there is a decline in the HIV prevalence in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Haiti and Burkina Faso and at least four states of India including Tamil Nadu.

The facts of the agency are evenmore revealing including the number of children infected with the virus every day.

“There are more new infections every year than AIDS-related death and as more people become infected with HIV, more people will die of AIDS-related illnesses. Worldwide, less than one in five people at risk of becoming infected with HIV have access to basic prevention services. Across the world, only one in eight people who want to be tested as currently able to do so,” the agency said in their website.

“Each day, 1500 children worldwide become infected with HIV, the vast majority of them newborns. In 2005, nine percent of pregnant women in low and middle income countries were offered services to prevent transmission to their newborns,” the agency said.


Next post: The story of Sheila Magpayo


Lyka Bergen said...

Enjoy the rain with an umbrella or a raincoat. It may be uncomfortable but it would be a mess when you go out there without it.... getting wet will ruin your day.

Sometimes, the rain will start without any notice. To be safe, always carry a parasol with you! Para Bongga! Ching!

Anonymous said...

hey, what happened to your previous blog template? :)

Anonymous said...

one word: CONDOM

Anonymous said...

Thinking of those very young victims alone gives me the shudder! *sighs*

I was thinking of those unreported HIV/AIDS cases. We don't have the slightest idea how many are they out there! *sighs again*

Here in France, the info campaign against AIDs is very much supported. There are big- time associations, hotlines, doctors on call, TV ads, etc.. Condom dispensers are even available everywhere.

I hope the Phil. media will be successful in disseminating the proper educational information. And... the Catholic industry to start their campaign on using condoms?? Hahahaaa

Geez, this is such a long comment, sorry banz. Na-carried away ako sa post mo. Thanks for posting this!

bananas said...

@lyka: amang!

@tabni: decided to be subdued this time.

@ianuarius: condoms cannot even guarantee safety love. keys words are--correct, usage, correct, usage...and so on and so forth.

@joy: many sad stories i will tell u later...

@all: i am off to salam island. staying there until friday. meeting again...

Anonymous said...

just checking out ur blog, saw it from kendi's....hehhe
if ur from davao then i wanna be ur blog friend

tin-tin said...

sorry ha. what's your job po? doctor?

Anonymous said...

I agree to correct usage but it is also best to just stick to one and stop being promiscuous.

Bryan Anthony the First said...

daming figures...digest ko muna


bananas said...

@shiela: blogfriends from now on...

@tin: No. Aint a doctor. Wish I am because i love the idea of performing euthanasia. Im into development a struggling journalist.

@charles: Thanks for dropping by man. Well said, love.

@bryan: Numbers yeah. Faces too...