Owners of girlie bars on Fields Avenue have been urged to help prevent the spread of HIV-AIDS in Angeles City.
Rodelio “Tony” Mamac, chief of Barangay Balibago, which covers the Fields Avenue/Walking Street red-light zone, invited the owners to an awareness seminar this week.
Dr Verona Guevarra, of the barangay’s Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC), said 435 cases of HIV had been recorded in the city as of February this year.
The Angeles City Health Office has also monitored cases of bar girls with gonorrhoea, genital warts and other STDs.
Mr Mamac urged the bar owners and managers to report any cases to help local government monitor disease.
Senate action on HIV-AIDS
Also this week, jailed senator Leila de Lima called for action over the rising number of HIV-AIDS cases in the 15-34 age group.
She has now filed a Senate Resolution to look into the worrying trend.
She said: “This alarming increase of HIV incidence involving Filipino youth can be attributed not only to the lack of HIV awareness in the country but also to the advent of technology. This makes finding sexual partners online easy, what with the rise of online dating applications. With this, people are lured to unsafe sex.
“As such, the government should address this growing youth epidemic especially because the State had a mechanism aimed to prevent the extensive outbreak of this disease from happening since 1998.”
Central Luzon, which includes Angeles City, ranks third among regions in the country with the highest number of reported HIV cases.
An average of four patients a day are diagnosed to have acquired the virus.
The Department of Health (DOH) reported 1,098 new HIV cases in the first three months of this year. This is nearly double the number recorded in the same timeframe last year.
DOH data also shows that the percentage of HIV positive cases in the age group 15-24 increased from 25 per cent in 2006-2010 to 28 per cent in 2011-2016. Figures suggest that since 2001 the average age of an HIV-AIDS sufferer has shifted steadily downwards.
Senator De Lima said: “It is imperative for the Senate as part of the policy-making body of the government to review any existing laws and look into how these concerned government agencies are addressing the campaign against HIV/ AIDS, especially among the youth.”