What’s the best way to talk about HIV to tech-savvy Filipinos?
Will a simple text message help Filipinos beat the odds against the rise of HIV incidence? According to the health group Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC), this is possible.
PNAC, with the help of Philippine NGO Support Programme and Globe Telecom, has launched the mobile campaign ‘TXT HIV to 8504’ in a bid to bring information about HIV closer to the public. Those who subscribe to the free text alerts and voice prompts will be given referrals on HIV counseling, testing and treatment programmes.
PNAC Executive Director Dr Chito Avelino said ‘Metro Manila residents now have a convenient way to access health information through their mobile phones, particularly about the prevention and treatment of HIV.’
The campaign will feature hygiene facilities in Manila, Pasay, Pasig and Quezon City. Contact details for PNAC, Department of Health (DOH) and PinoyLifeguide.org for additional information will also be included in the campaign.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is transmitted through sexual intercourse, sharing needles and other ways. HIV can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a disease that destroys the immune system. According to DOH, HIV incidence in the Philippines rose 43% in February this year compared to the same period last year.
The director said that ‘As the Philippines emerged as one of the countries with accelerating rates of new HIV cases,’ the challenge to health authorities today is to spread information on HIV and AIDS more effectively.
To subscribe to the free service, simply text ‘HIV’ and send to 8504. The service is open to Globe subscribers at no extra cost for a year.