According to the statistics from the Department of Health in Hong Kong, there are about 19 Filipinos who came out positive for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) test.
As stated by the Senior Programme Manager at the Hong Kong AIDS Foundation, Johnny Li Choi Hing, the number of Filipinos with HIV has gone down or became stable in the past years, compared to those Indonesians.
“We find a more dangerous situation for Indonesian girls,” says Mr. Li.
About 7 Filipinos became positive in 2013, another 5 in 2014, 3 in 2015 and another 4 last 2016, Mr. Li claimed. But the number is doubled with Indonesian women with 6 infected in 2013, 13 in 2014, 17 in 2015 and 20 in 2016. The main cause for the spread of disease is sexual contact.
“I would say this is alarming because it was only six cases (before) becoming 20 cases in four years. And every year, we still find a new case,” says Li. “If we don’t take any action, this could become a serious problem,” he further added.
Furthermore, Li also commended that Filipino women are becoming more aware of the dangers of HIV and how they can avoid it.
“According to our experience, there is a difference in education. Some girls coming from the Philippines, they are more well-educated. They know if something is dangerous..(that) if I have a relationship with someone, you have to use a condom,” Li said.
“Indonesians are also younger and so they easily trust other people. So, we have to provide an education program for the Indonesian community for them to do something to protect themselves,” he added.
Li reminded Filipinos and Indonesian women who are having intimate moments with foreign men to always use a condom as a means of protection.
“Some of our clients, they get infected in Hong Kong because they meet other guys coming from other countries. The guys would tell the girl, “Oh, we can get married and have a family and stay in Hong Kong, but then it turns out the guy is just a liar,” he said.
The AIDS Foundation is offering counselling session for individuals who are tested positive for HIV. He also advised these patients to go to government clinics for medical treatment.
“A lot of the girls (who test positive) feel surprised. They don’t believe and say ‘No, I don’t think so. I just have a regular boyfriend. He just has a problem so he went back to his own country. He will come back to me,’” Li said.
Mr. Li said that HIV should not be considered like a death sentence because early detection of the viruscan prevent the disease from developing into AIDS.
“If you get early treatment, it can be controlled very well. They will not die of this disease. But if they lose good treatment time, they face a serious health problem,” Li said. “Those infected with HIV still feel good (initially). They still walk around and so on. But five years later, their immune system is destroyed by the virus.”