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Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Numbing Numbers

Recently the Department of Health announced the 2011 figures for HIV infection in the Philippines. The numbers show that they nearly doubled from 2009 to 2010, and tripled in 2011. This is particularly dismaying if one considers that all around the world the rate of HIV infections have been on the decline.

But despite all these statistics being circulated, it seems that the numbers just increase the awareness level of the people, but they do not translate to a change in behavior. I just look to my close friends’ behavior, and I see that what prodded them to be tested was not knowledge of the statistics, no matter how alarming they are. The tipping point was when we started knowing friends and acquaintances that were HIV-positive. And when some of them started dying, that’s when the disease became really real. It may not have reduced the fearful possibility of being positive, but it sure was the added push that made them finally take the test.

Which is why I wish that more HIV-positive people would voluntarily come out with their status. They need not come out to the general public; in fact, I’m thinking more of them telling their immediate close circle of friends (and family, if they can handle them as well). It’s the big difference between just being a statistic versus having an actual face of the epidemic.

Yes, it is still a personal choice. And yes, no one has the right to disclose someone else’s HIV status. Which is why I wish more would volunteer. I think when people are able to put an actual face behind the disease, that’s when the fight against HIV transforms from the impersonal to the personal.

And then people hopefully will act.

7 comments:

Guyrony said...

I quite agree with you.

LanchiE said...

This is sad news.

I completely understand the urgency of HIV/AIDS awareness though I would like to think that the number of poz is directly proportional to the people who are getting tested.

This is a small step into getting our society more proactive.

Baby steps.

Vhevo said...

Hello po, Meron pa po bang
HIV Testing Centers na pede magpatest, yung centers na pinopost ni Migs sa blogs nya aside from SanLazaro Hospital.

chink said...

mcvie, not to downplay the importance of this truly alarming statistic, but maybe during the earlier years, very few people got tested and so the statistics showed very low hiv+ individuals. now with more information and campaigns to promote anonymous testings, what seemingly did not exist now comes out into the light. also, let's take this information with a grain of salt (yan na ata ang tag line ko...hahaha), this statistic may have been released at this particular point in time to support a particular maneuver in the political and socio-economic scene. the cynic in me emerges ;-p

citybuoy said...

these numbers are rather alarming. I wish there was something i could do to help. :(

joelmcvie said...

@LANCHIE & @CHINK: Yes, I am aware that the numbers reflect the fact that there are more people being tested. However, what I find sad is the fact that the Philippines' numbers are relatively higher and on the increase, in contrast to the worldwide trend.

joelmcvie said...

@VHEVO: Kindly go to The Love Yourself Project at http://www.loveyourself.ph/ for more information.