Global AIDS Day: Philippines

Creating and Maintaining an AIDS-FREE Philippines
Dr. Paul J. Caratti, Ph.D.

The Secretary of Health, Manuel Dayrit, encourages health agencies and programme managers in the Philippines to plan their strategy and start acting now against AIDS, while HIV is still at a manageable level. Source: HIV/AIDS Technical Report

This letter serves as a call-to-action to provide an effective strategy in the fight against AIDS. We need your help and support in order to create and maintain an AIDS-Free Philippines. Moreover this attachment acts as a National Health Announcement to inform all health agencies and their personnel that Global AIDS Day, a newly established HIV/AIDS prevention group, is asking for your cooperation and partnership on Global AIDS Day, June 2.

Global AIDS Day®which commemorates its worldwide event on June 2, adheres to the United Nations campaign against the growing HIV and AIDS problem in the Philippines as well as supports UNAIDS, World AIDS Day, USAID, and President Bush’s PEPFAR Plan to prevent, treat and defeat AIDS worldwide.

Global AIDS Day, like World AIDS Day which is observed December 1st, offers people living at risk of infection an additional source of information, strategy and protection from catching AIDS. Moreover in 2006, more than 40 countries observed our HIV-abatement programs for creating greater health-safety and learned how to keep the escalating incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) in countries like the Philippines low.

According to Philippine Health Secretary, Manuel Dayrit, The pattern for catching AIDS may be changing already. You don’t get it now from commercial sex workers. In the 200 new HIV-infections, we found that 52 percent were in professions like teachers, businessmen, barbers, nurses, mechanics, welders and drivers. Five percent were housewives and two percent were children. Surprisingly, none of the new infections involved sex workers. If you think you can get it (mainly) through commercial sex workers, the trend is changing. The infection is here, and it's infecting everybody from all walks of life and certainly through sexual contact. Source: AFP- December 1, 2004 

Secretary Dayrit warns: The rate of new infections of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS, doubled in the Philippines in 2004 and has now spread beyond sex workers to the general public. Concerns are mounting because the disease is still escalating where a total of 2,176 people in the Philippines are now confirmed to have been infected with the HIV/AIDS virus, but experts warn that the actual figure could be much higher. (2004 estimates) Source: Ibid

Why Should the Philippines be Concerned about AIDS?

In only 25 years the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS has infected over 70 million people worldwide, primarily infecting countries like Africa, India and South East Asia. Presently today over 40 million people are now infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and nearly 30 million people have died. However AIDS is not just a problem in places like Africa anymore, but is a serious health threat for the people of the Philippines today.

AIDS is the worst public health epidemic in history. World health leaders fear the Philippines are not prepared for the AIDS pandemic and by 2010 the number of HIV/AIDS cases worldwide could more than double from 40 million to rise to infect 100 million people and leave in its wake over 25 million orphans, thus becoming the greatest health and economic burden known to man of any totally preventable disease. Source: GAD 2006

The Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) now describe the AIDS epidemic as “hidden and growing.”  Even though the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate continues to be relatively low among the general population in the Philippines, strong consideration should still be given to the potential for rapid escalation given the widespread risk-taking behaviours that are evident in the country particularly among the youth focusing on the prevention of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infection, (STI’s) among uninformed personnel. Source: Philippine Department of Health

Experts warn that Filipino youth think they are immune to catching HIV/AIDS. Despite the HIV/AIDS information campaigns conducted over the past few years, experts are fearful that young adults still have misconceptions about the disease. The 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS 3) revealed that while nearly all (95%) of young adults have heard of HIV/AIDS, 73% believe there is no chance of them getting HIV/AIDS. These misconceptions may prove to be risky considering the rise in adolescent sexual practices where twenty-three percent of youth have engaged in premarital sex.  Source: YAFS3 press release, March 1, 2005

Dr. Alipui, UNICEF Philippines Representative, recently stated that the Philippines has been named a “Champion Country” because the people have the chance to avoid the mistakes that many countries have made in fighting HIV/AIDS. Young people have the power to make a difference in their own lives and that of others affected by HIV/AIDS. Source: World AIDS Day, 2006

Dr. Caratti, an AIDS researcher warns, “AIDS will kill more people this decade than all the wars and disasters in the past 50 years combined.” Red Cross/Red Crescent     Moreover, unless Filipinos can learn from the mistakes that other countries around the world have made, like Africa and India regarding AIDS, then Dr. Alipui’s challenge of avoiding the painful mistakes made by others will unfortunately go unattended, and many people will needlessly suffer at the cruel hand of this indiscriminate killer.

The Global AIDS Day Foundation is a non-profit, NGO, that is partnering together in cooperation with all public communication networks including, media, governmental agencies, NGO’s, schools, hospital institutions, parishes and denominational churches in order to increase the scope of AIDS-prevention targeting on the most at-risk groups and vulnerable populations including children, youth, women and overseas Filipino workers.

Our desire for partnership is to work toward creating and maintianing an AIDS-Free Philippines. But to do this will require harnessing the sheer human resources of all sectors by actively engaging the knowledge skills of its people, including governmental and non-governmental organizations, with regard to all aspects of decision making where cooperation is the key component necessary for creating and implementing a successful strategy.

More importantly, creating and maintaining an AIDS-Free Philippines would be felt in many other areas of society besides just improved social health, but would create greater economic and environmental stability, where each municipality is equally protected from the threat of AIDS and where the behaviour of HIV/AIDS is no longer ignored. Our project proposal supports the needs of all Filipino’s to create greater all-round health-safety, as well as comprehensive AIDS-management that would identify risky sexual behaviour that predisposes the population of the Philippines to the risk of AIDS.

Our Vision and Strategies:

  • To begin the immediate implementation for the distribution of HIV/AIDS information that would make HIV/AIDS literature available and free-of-charge in at-risk sectors of society.
  • To prevent high-risk HIV behaviors including sharing needles and syringes and to educate at-risk sex trade workers about the risks of having sex outside of marriage and of having unprotected sex.
  • To present Comprehensive AIDS Education in school starting at age 10 as an effective Sex Education Strategy against AIDS. (Age appropriate Sex-Education Materials would be incremental in content and will increase with maturity, meaning that we will not share inappropriate sex education materials with children that are not ready for particular sexual phrases and terms)
  • To alert women of the dangers of the Social Terrorist Syndrom that would protect women from AIDS in our society. Women are largely at-risk around the world where today 80% of women who contract HIV do so through their husband or primary sex partner. There is a sharp rise in people who knowingly spreading AIDS both in men and women.
  • To prevent the next generation of at-risk youth from becoming AIDS statistics by protecting our at-risk youth today with the whole truth about AIDS.  Youth are the most vulnerable at-risk group today for catching AIDS, where 50% of worldwide infections are from youth ages 15-25. 
  • To present the Philippines as a “Champion Country” and as a Model Society that shows the rest of the world how to turn the tide on AIDS and how to keep a society AIDS-FREE.
  • To create greater community AIDS-awareness and participation by actively engaging all sectors of society to begins to work together toward total AIDS abatement.
  • To help people have greater compassion and understanding about AIDS and for those with AIDS by removing the social stigma and stereo-types about AIDS and that AIDS is not just about homosexuals and sex-workers any more.
  • To see current governmental policies toward AIDS prevention reviewed and changed in light of the deep, critical AIDS pandemic and to re-examine our methodologies and educational strategies and move towards transformation.
  • To bring together a working relationship among civic leaders and religious clergy into proactive partnership against HIV/AIDS.
  • To introduce fidelity management programs for singles, couples and married men and women.
  • To reach homosexual and trans-gender males that are living at great risk of spreading AIDS from within their own community, as well as the bi-sexual males and women that may crossover. (This consequently creates another problem which is explained in #4, the Social Terrorist Syndrome).
  • To work with hospitals making sure that all blood supplies are safe. Presently today many of the blood supplies around the world are still HIV contaminated.  Out of 120 countries surveyed only 40% of those surveyed test their blood supplies for the presence of HIV.
  • To make sure that the Treatment of AIDS and Prevention or AIDS go hand-in-hand.
  • To introduce the Let’s WaitHIV? Not MeTeen Smartz and the One Partner Programs
  • Pro-Test. We are for establishing and honoring a National Filipino HIV/AIDS Testing day to properly alert Filipino’s about the dangers of AIDS through media specific PSA and public service notices like Radio-Newspaper and Television and Magazines that create greater awareness of the dangers of HIV so that more at-risk persons will come forward for voluntary testing.
  • To introduce HIV Education and AIDS Recovery Therapy, the HEART PROGRAM which offers comprehensive HIV/AIDS management which is designed to educate people who test Positive for HIV/AIDS about how to live responsibly within the boundaries of their status and to help them understand they are still HIV Positive and are still very much contagious and can still infect others with the deadly virus for 20 years or more unaware.
  • To establish a Post-Treatment cost of AIDS vs. Prevention Strategy that helps governmental and city official understand that for every $1 they spend on AIDS prevention that it will gain back about $40 in social benefits that they can then use for more important social programs like fighting drugs, gangs, hunger, poverty and education.
  • To develop in the Philippines The Pastor’s Commission on AIDS to remove the barries that exist within the church and to help people to Unconditionally love those even with AIDS. Moreover replace AIDS apathy with unconditional love rather than discrimination, bondage, fear and shame.
  • To champion HIV/AIDS rights for the underprivileged by making sure AIDS Meds are free and affordable for all those infected. Moreover to develop a mechanism that sustains antiretroviral therapy to make it truly accessible to those in need (including pediatric preparations of antiretrovirals).
  • To provide food, clothing and financial assistance to widows and orphans affected by AIDS.
  • We are Pro Abstinence and teach the ABC’s of sex.  A=abstain B=be faithful to one’s spouse; and if you cannot do either A of B, then C, use a condom. This is a very successful model that Uganda used to take AIDS from 30+% to under 6% in less than ten years
  • We support the FDA’s recommendation that condom labeling must now include clear and precautionary warnings to the user to better safeguard condom users about condom failure and risks.
  • To create HIV-FREE Communities, Schools-and most importantly HIV and AIDS-FREE LIVES.
  • To develop the Hope Houses as a refuge for women (prostitutes) who are looking to change their profession can get the street.
  • To develop a comprehensive prevention and care programme for overseas Filipino workers. A fully functioning genuine voluntary counselling and testing has to be in place.

Who We Are:  What is Global AIDS Day?

The Global AIDS Day Foundation is a privately funded not-for-profit; non-partisan educational organization that is dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS/STDS and other socially/sexual related issues in schools and communities worldwide. We are a non-governmental (NGO), whose primary objective is to change the course of AIDS in all sectors of society showing dramatic reduction of new HIV/AIDS infections worldwide by 2010, whereby addressing the social ramification surrounding this global-wide pandemic.

In response to the growing AIDS crisis the Global AIDS Day Foundation calls for the immediate response from every church, parish and congregation, and challenges every ecumenical leader to take action against the AIDS pandemic and to learn how to prepare their congregations for the coming scourge of AIDS through educational programs of awareness, care and support.  

Presently, Global AIDS Day is working among civic leaders, schools, churches and governmental organizations to help “build a bridge” of Comprehensive AIDS-education and life-management skills that promote a return to healthy life-values, thereby reducing the prevalence and spread of HIV within at-risk communities.

Moreover our aim is to help clarify the debate surrounding the efficacy of abstinence programs vs. widespread mass condom distribution in order to help people re-think AIDS abatement as a proactive and preventive offensive solution for healthy living as opposed to being only a defensive sex education strategy.

The Philippines have always been a family-based and traditionally-oriented culture that has well understood the benefit of having comprehensive and preventive education for maintaining good health. Moreover our approach for preventing HIV and AIDS is no different and we believe that monogamy-based abstinence and fidelity must come first.

Consequently because the societies of the world have changed we fully recognize and understand the growing need for there to be comprehensive condom safety education as well in order to protect the at-risk sectors of society that are involved in deviant behaviors as a necessary precaution against AIDS.

Our goal is not to merely reduce or even to decrease the prevalence of AIDS, but rather, is to obliterate and destroy AIDS from the Philippine culture altogether. But to accomplish this will require the full cooperation of every sector of society within the Philippine culture willing to work together to achieve the same objective in order to see full containment and eradication of this preventable disease. 

Greater Outbreaks Feared:

Many public health officials now warn of there being even greater communal infections of new HIV outbreaks due to recent medical  breakthroughs, Anti-retroviral therapy (ARV’s), that allow people to live beyond the original scope of the virus. The alarm is that a new, longer lease-on-life also means a lengthier host-cycle for the VIRUS to thrive, thereby creating a lengthier duration of communal infection to others.  

HIV is no longer feared as the “death” sentence that it once was some years back. Moreover more tolerant attitudes toward catching the HIV virus has opened a new door of sexual ignorance, whereby communal infections are now being reported as compound and widespread.

Through the citywide distribution of Free HIV anti-AIDS literature, our primary goal is to widen the scope on AIDS education and to bring transformation by reaching into every sector of society in order to teach about the dangers of AIDS, showing how AIDS must be prevented, treated and defeated before it reaches a critical point of societal infection in the Philippines.

Our objective is to create a multi-sectoral approach to HIV/AIDS prevention through comprehensive education and services that would seep into every government department be it education, labor and employment, medical  therapy, tourism or foreign affairs It is hoped that our Projects will become an important asset in the fight against AIDS and deemed as a necessary contribution to warn people about the escalating dangers of even greater outbreaks of new HIV infections, CO infection and RE infection.

AIDS quite simply is a fight that we must win!!!

The African nation of Uganda is a prime example of a sexually promiscuous society that returned back to their traditional family values and was able to rethink “sex before marriage.” They chose abstinence and fidelity as an AIDS-abatement strategy as their primary weapon to win the fight against AIDS. That decision turned the once endangered small African nation on the brink of extension from having 30%+ HIV/AIDS to less than 6% HIV/AIDS in about 10 years.

The Philippine society in general would benefit greatly from implementing the ABC strategy for AIDS prevention rather than relying on the more expensive post-treatment alternatives. The ABC approach to AIDS prevention is this: A=abstinence; B=be faithful to one’s spouse; and if one can do neither A or B then be sure to use a condom.

We teach preventive strategies for reproductive health that help people learn how not to contract the HIV virus. These programs significantly reduce the need for many of the costly post-treatment services, whereby definition, there would be much fewer STDs and post-treatment programs needed.  An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure. Prevention is the Key to intervention and truthful Knowledge is a formidable weapon against HIV/AIDS where the greatest treatment for AIDS is still PREVENTION.

Global AIDS Day recognizes the urgent need for there being comprehensive HIV educational programs that reduce HIV health risks that raise the level of awareness of child, adolescent and adult reproductive health as well as preventing other risky behaviours like teen pregnancy, alcohol use and drug abuse.

Our stratagem for the Philippines is to present a multi-sectoral approach to HIV/AIDS education that seep into every government department be it education, labour and employment, tourism or foreign affairs. Our specific aim is for people to gain comprehensive knowledge about AIDS as well as a rudimentary understanding of the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS particularly the vulnerable and at-risk youth sector.

Even though AIDS has reached a limited scope of infection within the Philippines the threat of it becoming a full-blown major epidemic is only a matter time. AIDS is already here and how we deal with it now from this point on will determine its course.

Our goal is not to merely reduce or even decrease the prevalence of AIDS, but it is to obliterate and destroy AIDS from the Philippine culture altogether. But to accomplish this will require the full cooperation of every sector of society within the Philippine culture willing to work together to achieve the same objective in order to see full the containment and eradication of this preventable disease.

United Nations Recommendation

Against the growing HIV and AIDS problem the United Nations campaign now approves messages from the pulpit, not necessarily suggesting the use of condoms but the traditional Church prescription of abstinence and loyalty to partners. Inquirer 12/20/05

Global AIDS Day is the united evangelic voice against AIDS. Our objective is to bring together a working relationship among civic leaders and religious clergy into proactive partnership against HIV/AIDS. We hope to see current governmental policies toward AIDS prevention reviewed and changed in light of the critical AIDS pandemic and re-examine our methodologies and educational strategies for preventing, treating and defeating AIDS.

Dr. Paul J. Caratti is an AIDS researcher and sociologist.  He is the founder of Global AIDS Day, World Storehouse, The Orphans of AIDS and the National Council for HIV /AIDS Education. He is a gifted speaker and presents a comprehensive and compelling world-view of the AIDS pandemic of how the looming presence of AIDS threatens our world today. While he was in Africa he worked closely with Archbishop Desmond Tutu where his personal experience of the AIDS crisis personally and permanently influenced his life.

Dr. Caratti’s lifework is dedicated to researching and mapping the social trends and variable patterns of the disease as it spreads socially from one country to the next, much like a domino effect. Moreover, forecasting the financial impact predictions of AIDS-related Post-Treatment Costs on a nations’ economy. Then presenting those findings to world leaders appealing to their prudence how by them not preventing AIDS now will cost their country billions of dollars in lost revenue unless they heed the United Nations warning for change. 

Moreover Dr. Caratti is the author of The Social Terrorist, which is a novel which chronicles and depicts the most logical resolution to the AIDS pandemic based on the facts and projections as we know them today. Whether you have AIDS or are just a curious reader, The Social Terrorist will change your perception about AIDS. It will enlighten you as to how this disease is the worst, completely preventable scourge on society that affects mostly innocent people. By 2010 the number of AIDS cases may more than double from 40 million people to infect over 100 million people; and leave in its wake over 25 million orphans, thus becoming the greatest health and economic burden known to man of any totally preventable disease.     The Social Terrorist, Copyright © 2006

Global AIDS Day commends the President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as well as the Philippine National Government, Local Government Units and the Non-governmental agencies, which have taken an active part in the fight of this disease. We encourage you to join us in the fight against AIDS and stand with us on June 2, to strengthen the relations among government, civil society groups, and donor/development partners thus creating an even stronger unified action against AIDS in the Philippines.

For more information about how your group can participation on Global AIDS Day, June 2, please contact Arlene Icasiano Global AIDS Day, Vice President at:

Office 632-6545177 or by Cell phone: 918-263-2981

 

Or Contact Dr. Paul Caratti at: DrPaul_GobalAidsDay@yahoo.com
Web Site www.GlobalAidsDay.org

Ways you can help.

  • Announce the Global AIDS Day event through all you media resource channels.
  • Or you can link us on our site and or post the Global AIDS Day event on June 2, on your web site.
  • Please contact our office today to offer your support in the fight against AIDS.

Log on to our web site at: www.GlobalAidsDay.org or contact Arlene Icasiano at
0632-6545177  

 Yours for better health,

 Dr. Paul J. Caratti,

Global AIDS Day, Founder and President

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