Friday, January 29, 2010

HIV on the Rise

There has been an alarming increase in the rate of new Human Immunodeficiency Virus cases in the Philippines. While we still have one of the lowest prevalence rates of HIV in the world, we must immediately take the necessary measures to avert a full-blown crisis.

From the time the Department of Health began tracking HIV disease in 1984, there have been 4021 cases recorded. 318 have died from the disease. The mortality rate is difficult to determine however because most of the afflicted patients go home to their provinces and spend their final days in seclusion and anonymity.

Compared to 2008, there was a three-fold rise in the incidence of HIV in 2009. The increase was largely attributed to the cohort group of men having sex with other men (MSM), differentiated from openly homosexual males. Current public health interventions do not cover the generally invisible MSM population composed of young, urban professionals in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao.

A coordinated educational campaign through the internet, which is the preferred mode of communication among MSM groups must be immediately implemented. Widespread and frequent testing for HIV which is offered free of charge in government tertiary care hospitals should be encouraged and the principles and practices of preventive measures clearly articulated.

It would be a national tragedy to confront yet another epidemic when we haven’t even contained the scourge of tuberculosis.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Senator Noynoy Aquino is Not Autistic

"Is He Autistic?" distracts us from focusing on pertinent issues and instead plays upon laymen's ignorance and fears.

Mental disorders are diagnosed and classified using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV).

Autism is an apparent, ascertainable condition subject to easy diagnosis by any physician or trained psychologist. The diagnosis of autism requires a total of 6 symptoms including at least two symptoms of qualitative impairment in social interaction, at least one symptom of qualitative impairment in communication, and at least one symptom of restricted and repetitive behavior.

In other words, autism is both observable and obvious.

From a medical standpoint, Senator Noynoy Aquino does not in any way suffer from autism.

He does suffer as a victim of inuuendo and personal attacks based on psuedo medical imaginings meant to discredit him and distract the electorate.

Not that autism automatically excludes anyone from public office. Thomas Jefferson was known to have exhibited a number of symptoms pointing to some form of autism ( Ledgin, Norm. Diagnosing Jefferson: Evidence of a Condition that Guided his Beliefs, Behavior, and Personal Associations.). President Thomas Jefferson is the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.

Autism as an issue is a sham. It is unworthy of serious discussion.

We must instead focus upon the qualities of our presidential candidates that will result in peaceful, revolutionary transformation. Former and present leaders who displayed legal brilliance, a variety of talents, and unprecedented hard work all failed to unite us Filipinos into becoming a productive force. We need an honest President with a clear mind and a clean heart who will rally us from all this hopelessness, violence and corruption.