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MANILA, Philippines – With HIV cases still on the rise, various groups started an initiative to get health information out to people through their mobile phones.
On Friday, April 4, the Philippine NGO Support Program, Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC), and Globe Telecommunications announced the rollout of TXT HIV to 8504.
The campaign will not only give information, but will also provide referrals to HIV counseling, testing, and life-saving treatment programs. (READ: HIV-AIDS epidemic: A call to action)
By texting “HIV” to 8504, a mobile phone user will receive a series of messages and interactive voice responses that will guide users through information, risk assessment, and refer them to participating health facilities in Metro Manila.
These include social hygiene clinics in Manila, Pasay City and Quezon City, as well as the Woodwater Center in Pasig City. The health facilities offer confidential HIV counseling and testing.
They are also linked to other treatment hubs and hospitals that offer anti-retroviral therapy. The therapy, according to the World Health Organization, consists of the combination of at least 3 drugs to “maximally” suppress the HIV virus, stopping the progression of the disease.
The Department of Health (DOH) announced recently a total of 934 HIV cases in the country this 2014, with 486 new cases as of February.
That’s 15 to 16 new cases per day, according to Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag.
The Philippines is one of 3 countries in Asia where HIV is increasing, with an 820% increase in a span of 9 years – from 173 cases in 2001 to 1,591 cases in 2010. (READ: Abortion cases in PH rising: ‘RH law would be life saver’)
According to DOH, Metro Manila is where the most number of detected HIV cases in the Philippines is.
A recent study of the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) said the prevalence of premarital sexual activity among young Filipinos has increased but not the use of protection against sexually-transmitted infections. (READ: Young, tech-savvy Filipinos more sexually active than you think)
The campaign, which will include details from PNAC, DOH, and PinoyLifeguide.org, will be available for free to Globe subscribers for one year. – Rappler.com