The Provincial Health Office thru its Provincial HIV Program Coordinator, Haydelisa Maderazo, facilitated the two-day Cavite Multi-sectoral HIV Council and Coordinators Meeting held at The Bayleaf Hotel, City of Gen. Trias on August 22-23, 2019. The meeting with the tagline “Act Against AIDS, End It” sought to build a more cohesive network of offices to work on the probable recommendations, programs and policies towards handling the HIV epidemic.

Issues and challenges encountered in the implementation of HIV programs and policies in cities and municipalities were tackled during the first day of the meeting. Two of the major problems cited were the conflict during the testing and screening and the referral system after the patient was diagnosed reactive. It was attended by the municipal and city health officers, HIV program coordinator and nurses, members of POZ Cavite Support Group Incorporated (PCSGI) and members of the Provincial HIV Council.

Dr. Michael Angelo Marquez, Bacoor City HIV Medical Coordinator suggested to formulate IEC materials on HIV-AIDS programs and policies with complete directories of the treatment hubs in the province. Likewise, Dr. Ferdinand Mina of Imus City Health Office recommended to have a massive HIV awareness campaign tapping the LGBT community through creation of an LGBT organization in Cavite.

On the second day, Dr. Nelson Soriano, OIC-Public Health and Technical Services and Head of Provincial Epidemiology Service Unit of the PHO welcomed all the participants and challenged them to improve the HIV prevention and control programs in the province since HIV is a big health issue. According to him, open networking like social media is big help in solving the challenges encountered.

The event was also graced by Sixth District Board Member Kerby Salazar, Chairperson-Committee on Health, Nutrition and Population and expressed his observation that majority of the HIV awareness programs focused on the LGBT community. He suggested that it’s time to design a program for everyone. He also stressed that more than increasing awareness, activities and programs that can help end the stigma should be formulated. BM Salazar promised that as chairperson of the committee on health, he will utilize his term to improve the healthcare and nutrition program in the province to achieve a healthy and livable Cavite.

Highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the accomplishments of the Provincial HIV Program where Ms. Haydelisa Maderazo reported that they have conducted HIV awareness campaign to senior high school students from different schools in the province, out of school youths and employees of private companies from September 2018 – August 2019. Simultaneous mobile HIV counselling and testing were also done in the entire province. She also cited other HIV programs like candle lighting ceremony, Buntis Congress for both adult and teenage pregnant women and orientation in different private companies. Likewise, status and accomplishments of four treatment hubs namely, Bacoor Social Hygiene Clinic, Imus Reproductive and Wellness Center, Dasmariñas Social Hygiene Clinic and Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo Memorial Hospital Treatment Hub were discussed by their respective city HIV program coordinator.

Before the meeting ended, in an open forum, Ms. Julliene Christine Aurellado, Regional HIV Program Coordinator, addressed the questions and queries raised on the first day of the meeting. The issues and challenges tackled were answered and given plausible recommendations.