Monday, February 8, 2010

Cops also vulnerable to HIV—police

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 11:07:00 02/02/2010

Filed Under: Health, Police, Diseases

MANILA, Philippines—Aside from call center agents, policemen are also vulnerable to getting infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) due to the nature of their work, the Philippine National Police revealed.

"They are usually transferred to different places from time to time and are, therefore, away from their families for long periods of time (and may be lonely)," according to an information campaign spearheaded by the PNP.

Police are also constantly exposed to police operations involving prostitution, drugs, and violent crimes, adding to their vulnerability.

The PNP also reported a high incidence of accidents involving policemen that require them to undergo blood transfusion, the PNP said.

Because of these vulnerabilities, the PNP launched an information campaign in an effort to protect its members from acquiring HIV.

HIV is a virus that destroys the body's ability to fight infection and disease, leading to full-blown AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). It spreads through sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, and from mother to child during pregnancy.

In a handout distributed to policemen titled, "AIDS Awareness and Prevention Card for the PNP," the PNP listed down the rights of policemen infected with HIV.

Citing Republic Act 8504 or the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998, the PNP said all HIV victims "cannot be denied access to employment and livelihood, admission in schools, travel and habitation, appointive office, credit and insurance, health care and decent burial services."

The PNP also cited other reasons why policemen are especially vulnerable to HIV: They comprise the age group of early 20s to mid 40s—the age of most HIV infected Filipinos; and they have high probability of engaging in casual sex without the use of condoms.

The PNP advised its members to modify their lifestyle and seek medical attention to avoid being infected with HIV.

"You cannot tell if someone has HIV or AIDS simply by looking. A person living with HIV may look and feel healthy and may not even know he or she is infected."
"A blood test is the only way a person can find out one's HIV status," the PNP said

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