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IN MY EYES: The No. 1 Anti-AIDS serum

Edward B. Antonio

In a very recent interview with Sangguniang Panlungsod Tenten Figuerres of Vigan City, he divulged that the number of HIV-AIDS carriers in Ilocos Sur is less than 300 contrary to our research that it has reached more than that figure.

He said that’s the figure only for “known” carriers.

As for those who have not confided to the Department of Health (DOH), that’s still a question.

SP Figuerres’ family owns a hospital in the heart of the city, fellas.

“What is alarming, too, to hospitals is the danger posed by these unknown carriers when they are hospitalized. You see, our doctors and nurses might get accident while injecting or when there are blood transfusion, we don’t know,” he said.

That is why Vigan City has rid itself of gaybars and beer houses with GROs.

The crackdown on gaybars and GRO houses in Metro Manila and Olongapo has made many parts of Northern Luzon a place of exodus for these bargirls. Some have landed in seacoast resorts, mountainside beerhouses and in town and cities where no ordinance has banned them.

Mang Maing spoke of one Michelle whom he interviewed in Poro Point in San Fernando City. Michelle said she is from Bicol and that she already has 2 children whom she entrusted to her mother. She has discarded her irresponsible husband, went to failed relationship with two other men and ended up as a GRO. She went on a 1-year college stint where she met another man but when her past became known, she was dumped by the man’s family.

“She did not have vertebrae,” she said, although she felt he was very much in love with her.

Michelle, Mang Maing said, is pretty, tall and smooth and around 25 years old but as in other veteran GROs, her tummy has grown and her shoulders are broader than usual. It is because a GRO’s main source of income is drinking beers (and peanuts as pulutan) with her customers where she earns between P100 to P200 per bottle.

“The more I drink, the more I earn,” she said.

Mang Maing also quoted Michelle as one of those who dance and strip on stage at P600 per show.

But Mang Maing said he did not ask if the GROs there are having their regular check-up.

“I thought it was improper, but I am aware that these establishments are one high source of HIV-AIDS,” he said.
But Mang Maing said that contrary to popular beliefs, HIV-AIDS is only transmitted through specific activities. Most commonly, people get or transmit HIV through sexual behaviors and needle or syringe use. Only certain body fluids—blood, reproductive organ fluids, rectal fluids, and breast milk—from a person who has HIV can transmit HIV. These fluids must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into the bloodstream (from a needle or syringe) for transmission to occur. Mucous membranes are found inside the rectum, the reproductive organs and the mouth.

He also said that one can’t get HIV from consuming food handled by an HIV-infected person. Even if the food contains small amounts of HIV-infected blood or semen, exposure to the air, heat from cooking, and stomach acid would destroy the virus.

Though it is very rare, HIV can be spread by eating food that has been pre-chewed by an HIV-infected person. The contamination occurs when infected blood from a caregiver’s mouth mixes with food while chewing. The only known cases are among infants.

It is not transmitted, too, by the following: hugging, shaking hands, sharing toilets, sharing dishes, or closed-mouth or “social” kissing with someone who is HIV-positive; saliva, tears, or sweat that is not mixed with the blood of an HIV-positive person; mosquitoes, ticks or other blood-sucking insects or through the air. HIV cannot survive outside the body. It cannot be spread through the air, from touching, toilet seats or shared cutlery.

Speaking with or shaking hands with HIV+ people is completely harmless, so you do not need to worry whether anyone you meet has HIV. The virus cannot survive in air, water, or most other substances outside of the human body, so sharing food, swimming in the same pool, or sharing a bathroom with an HIV+ person will not transmit an infection.

“But most of all, you cannot prevent infection using any type of birth control besides condoms.You cannot eliminate the chance of infection through circumcision. Studies show that circumcision partially reduces a man’s chance of contracting HIV from an HIV+ woman. However, this is not effective enough to result in “safe sex,” and does not necessarily help at all in male-male sexual encounters, or reduce the chance of a woman contracting HIV from a man. There is no such thing as a special lube, anti-microbe medicine, or vaccination that protects against HIV. Lube is only useful in HIV prevention because it helps prevent condoms from breaking, not because it can stop the virus on its own,” Mang Maing said, citing his researches.

But how can HIV be avoided?

“Simple,” says Mang Maing. “There are six basic ways: understand HIV infection through proper education, reduce transmission by practicing safe sex, avoid transmission through syringes, avoid HIV as a health worker or as a partner of an HIV-positive person, taking action if you may have been exposed to HIV and receiving treatment for HIV or AIDS.

“But the most basic way to avoid it is to be true to your partner or wife. Be loyal to him or her and avoid the temptation of going to gaybars and beerhouses with GROs,” he said.
I agree 100% fellas.

Faithfulness is still the No. 1 anti-AIDS serum.

Unless your other partner is your neighbor’s wife!

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