Studies from the Department of Health show that for the month of March this year alone, a total of 313 HIV cases have been recorded in the Philippines. This indicates an alarming rate of 10 new cases per day.
De La Salle University Medical Center (DLSUMC) responded to this sound of alarm by organizing a multi-disciplinary conference on July 18 at the De La Salle Villarosa Convention Hall on HIV. Initiated by the Infection Control Committee, in cooperation with the Department of Internal Medicine, the conference provided information on preventive measures and explained DLSUMC’s role in the prevention of the further spread of this epidemic.
The event gathered more than 300 resident doctors, senior interns, junior interns, PT Interns, nurses, radiation technologists, med techs, pharmacists, dieticians, professors, and other health care workers. The participants were also updated on the common misconceptions about HIV and the occupational hazardsof health workers concerning HIV.
During the conference, DLSUMC resolved to form an HIV/AIDS Core Team (HACT) composed of doctors, nurses, medical social workers, medical technologists and counselors. The HACT will serve as facilitators in the provision of safe, comprehensive, and compassionate care to persons with HIV/AIDS by trained personnel. They would also ensure the coordination of all efforts to prevent and control the transmission of HIV/AIDS infection within the hospital and the mobilization of the hospital and community resources to minimize the impact of HIV/AIDS infection on patients and their families.
Issues of confidentiality were also tackled including the penal sanctions involved for violations of confidentiality, as Article VI of the Philippine National Aids Council (PNAC) mandates the strict observance of medical confidentiality by all health practitioners and hospital staff in handling the medical records of persons with HIV or those who undergo HIV testing. This requirement – which also applies to coworkers, employers, recruitment agencies, insurance companies, data encoders, and other record custodians – is designed to prevent the negative social stigma experienced by persons infected with HIV.