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health 2016 aA total of seventy-four Dalaguetnons have voluntarily submitted themselves for an on-the-spot Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) counseling and testing which was conducted at the second floor of the Dalaguete Health Management Complex on March 30, 2016. The activity was made possible through the joint efforts of the Dalaguete Municipal Health Office headed by municipal health officer Dr. Jose Edgar V. Alonso and medical technologists Jun Salgado and Brenda Belciña–Paredes from the Provincial Health Office. A pre-counseling session was done before the actual HIV testing to present a brief summary of the disease, explain the significance of the test and provide assurance in confidentiality of results.

Dr. Jose Edgar V. Alonso stressed out in his welcome address that the virus damages the body’s immune system, disabling it to fight infection and could later on develop to a potentially life-threatening condition known as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The disease could infect anyone known to be exposed from infective breakage of skin integrity (such as body piercing or recycling of used needles) and risky sexual behaviors with infected individuals that involve bodily fluids such as blood, reproductive excreta and even breast milk. Salgado also emphasized during the pre-counseling session on the use of protection for sexually-active individuals and demonstrated correct condom use.

Although the disease can be treated with available anti-retroviral medications, there is no cure to it. The health team is hopeful for another activity such as this which promotes awareness on the potential threat brought about by the virus and encourages community participation for responsiveness and early detection of the disease, especially vulnerable groups such as the LGBT community.   

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