MANILA – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Monday called on everyone to end the stigma and discrimination against persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (PLHIVs) to ensure their access to adequate treatment, care and support services.
As the vice chair of the Philippine National AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) Council (PNAC) and the lead agency in providing social protection services, the DSWD is implementing psychosocial care and support services designed for the prevention and management of risks and related problems of HIV infection among the infected and their families to ensure their positive social functioning and well-being.
During the commemoration of Worlds AIDS Day last Friday, Gatchalian highlighted the need to strengthen the efforts in support of PLHIVs and their affected families.
“The observance of World AIDS Day mainstreams the plight of PLHIVs and the immediate need to dismantle the barriers that hamper their access to quality health care and other psychosocial services,” Gatchalian said.
“We must put (the) spotlight on issues on policy and regulatory obstacles, funding shortages, capacity constraints, and other rights-based barriers to accessing human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome services,” Gatchalian said in his message delivered during the program by DSWD Program Management Bureau Director Miramel Garcia-Laxa.
Themed “Let Communities Lead - #Sama-sama Tayo sa Laban Kontra-HIV, Dahil sa Bagong Pilipinas, Bawat Buhay ay Mahalaga (Let’s unit against HIV because under new Philippines, every life is precious),” the 2023 World AIDS Day underscores the rights being sought by the country’s PLHIVs, including freedom from any barriers preventing them to have quality health care and other important government services and interventions.
These include sustainable livelihood, individual and family group sessions, educational assistance, and psychological first aid, among others.
The DSWD also conducts capacity-building activities to better equip local government units with the necessary skills and capacity to handle their constituents with HIV/AIDS and their families. (PNA)