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Rene Bonsubre, Jr.
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By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.

01 Dec 2013

December 1 is World AIDS Day. For a quarter of a century, this day has served as as an occasion to raise public awareness and educate people about the continuing spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV.

The Department of Health here in the Philippines informed early this year that an average of 12 HIV/AIDS cases are reported daily in the Philippines since January 2013, the highest daily rate since the government began monitoring the disease in 1984.

Their data showed that sexual contact accounts for the majority of new cases while the mode of transmission for the rest of the recorded new cases were due to needle sharing among injecting drug users. HIV is also passed intrapartum or perinatally from an HIV positive mother to infant.

Education is the best tool to prevent the spread of this disease. Abstinence is the absolute way of avoiding sexual transmission of HIV. In cases where you have to do it, please practice safe sex by using condoms. Having only one sexual partner and being loyal to him or her is also an excellent way to avoid HIV. Knowing the sexual history of your partner also helps. Intravenous drug users should avoid sharing needles.

Health workers are reminded to use gloves when in contact with body fluids. This is something that doctors should routinely practice when they are working as physicians at ringside for boxing or mixed martial arts.

Last October in an article which appeared in fightnews, The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada announced a dynamic new partnership, designed to raise awareness of the realities of HIV among young individuals under 30 by by launching an awareness campaign called “Protect Yourself At All Times”.

Protect Yourself At All Times has two key messages – 1.Get tested; know your status 2.Protect yourself with safe sex practices. UFC Hall of Famer Forrest Griffin and female UFC fighter Liz Carmouche are spokepersons for the campaign.

I hope the sports officials here in the Philippines will follow this example. Because of the increasing number of cases here in the Philippines, sanctioning bodies for full contact sports should review their testing procedures licensing of the athletes and officials involved in sports like boxing and MMA.

Educate yourself about HIV and talk about it with your friends. It is also no longer a death sentence.

If for any reason you feel you need to get tested, do not hesitate to consult a physician.

Be safe.

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