MANILA, Philippines?The party-list group representing the BPO (business processing outsourcing) and call center industry has launched an HIV hotline following the disclosure by a former call center agent that he became HIV-positive in 2009.
AKMA-PTM, through spokesperson Kevin Carreon, in a press statement, described the HIV hotline as a ?lifeline for assistance? to raise Filipinos? awareness on the dangers of HIV and provide access to those in need of medical testing, counseling and even treatment for the dreaded virus that causes AIDS.
Carreon called the spread of HIV in the country a ?silent epidemic.?
He said the HIV hotline, 546-0691, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week and is manned by call center agents linked to the AKMA-PTM secretariat. The hotline has general information on HIV for agents and all interested callers.
?We have taken up the cudgels for the 500,000 call center agents in the Philippines, and one of our flagship projects is promoting public awareness of HIV-AIDS among industry workers and the general public,? said Carreon.
?We know that the BPO and call center industry is the hardest hit based on the reported cases of HIV infections in the country. We feel this is the proper time to respond to a silent epidemic,? Carreon said.
Last Monday, a 20-year-old call center agent disclosed in a video-taped statement he was infected with HIV in 2009 after having casual sex with a hospital worker he had met at a street party in Quezon City.
?The reason I contracted HIV was because I did not practice safe sex,? said the man, his face covered with a mask.