Jinggoy Joins Global Campaign versus HIV/AIDS
Jinggoy Journal - Volume 2 Issue 6 (June 2008)
Posted: July 28th, 2008 @ 12:35am
Marking this year's 25th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial on May 18 with the theme "Never Give Up, Never Forget," Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada called on the government to undertake concrete programs against HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) and urged fellow legislators to pass his bill titled, "Women's and Children's HIV Protection Act."
Estrada's Senate Bill 607 seeks to provide for HIV testing of pregnant women and newly born infants.
"Prenatal transmission is the leading cause of pediatric HIV infections, including AIDS cases. Recent studies suggest that HIV-infected women give birth and many babies continue to be born with HIV infection each year without the knowledge of appropriate government agencies," said Estrada, who also actively participated and was a guest speaker in the "Staying Alive Music Summit for HIV/AIDS" concert held at the Bonifacio Global City Open Field in 2005.
"SB 607 seeks to provide for appropriate counseling and treatment that can significantly reduce the number of pediatric HIV infections, including AIDS cases. The measure likewise improves women's and children's access to medical care," he added.
The Candlelight event, started in 1983, is held on the third Sunday of May every year around the globe to remember people who died of AIDS; educate about AIDS and the HIV that leads to it; and, call for corresponding local, national and international actions.
Estrada lauded the HIV/AIDS Prevention Project of the non-government organization, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), which, in partnership with the UNICEF, spearheads the country's annual candlelight memorials and pushes for civil society and government actions against the affliction.
The senator noted PRRM President Conrado Navarro's report that "the number of afflicted people, referred to as Person(s) Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA), has reached about 40 million worldwide, 17 million of whom are women and 2 million are children, while more than 20 million people around the world - including 307 Filipinos - have died from AIDS-related complications."
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in its 2008 report, estimated that 12,000 Filipinos were HIV-positive as of the end of 2005. The Department of Health said there could be up to 30,000 Filipinos who have the virus, though most of these are not aware of the infection because they have not been diagnosed in clinics.