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Bicol health scare: Sex worker with HIV missing

/ 02:16 AM October 10, 2014

NAGA CITY, Philippines—Health authorities here have lost track of an HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)-positive female commercial sex worker from Albay province after she was last seen this year in Bato and Nabua towns, Camarines Sur province, according to a government doctor.

Dr. Ferchito L. Avelino, head of the Philippine National AIDS Council, said in a meeting of the Naga City AIDS Council on Tuesday that the woman, who is in her 20s and more than 1.5 meters (5 feet) in height with fair skin and a tattoo on her left breast, was diagnosed with the deadly virus early this year.

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Avelino said the young woman did not respond when asked whether she would continue working after she was diagnosed with HIV, until they learned that she left Albay for Camarines Sur and stayed in Bato, then Nabua, before losing track of her.

He said one of the challenges against the spread of the deadly virus was how to provide HIV-positive persons, particularly sex workers, with employment away from the sex industry.

Avelino, a member of the team that studied the spread of HIV, cited the prevalence of HIV cases in an industrial area in Metro Manila, which they discovered to be the spot for nighttime orgies in the privacy of workers’ residences, even though the place was deceptively quiet at night.

He said the spread of HIV was commonly attributed to unsafe sex practices among males having sex with males, group intercourse and the sharing of needles among drug users.

HIV cases can also be found in blood transfusions.

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TAGS: Albay province, Bato, Camarines Sur, commercial sex worker, Dr. Ferchito L. Avelino, HIV, HIV-positive female, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Nabua towns, Naga City AIDS Council, Philippine National AIDS Council
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