Seafarers as leading carriers of HIV/AIDS
What else is new? Many negative accusations are being thrown to all seafarers around the world. They are branded as the leading carriers of HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus)/ AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) because of the proximity of many commercial sex workers (CSW) in every port where the ship load or discharge its cargo. An estimated figure of less than 50 % accounted seafarers’ lead among the list of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)carrying the dreaded HIV/AIDS.
Due to this data, crewing agents and ship managers in many manning agencies intensified the awareness program about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the seafarers‘ pre-departure orientation seminars (PDOS).
The Department of Health (DOH) said that the new figures erases the common notion that HIV/AIDS are transmitted by OFWs who are working as entertainers or sex workers abroad.
Indulging in unprotected sex is often the cause of the HIV/AIDS transmission among seafarers.
Alarmed by the said survey, the Integrated Marine Deck and Engine Officers Association of the Philippines (IMDEOAP) is conducting a series of free forums and lectures in major cities like Manila and Cebu on awareness and prevention.
HIV/AIDS is now one of the top 10 health issues threatening Filipino seafarers, along with Hepatitis B and heart disease.
Aside from it, there are at least fourteen viruses and skin diseases that can be transmitted through sexual contact.
The sailor decided to include the list of these viruses and skin diseases that threaten the lives of many seafarers if not treated properly.
14 Diseases through sexual contact
1. HIV and AIDS or the Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is a virus that attacks the immune system resulting in Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.
2. Chancroid is a bacterial infection that causes painful sores. It is a highly contagious STD, but curable. If left untreated, it may make HIV transmission easier.
3. Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that often causes no symptoms but can have serious consequences, such as infertility, if not treated. This is the STD most frequently reported in the US.
4. Crabs are also known as pediculosis pubis. Crabs are parasites or bugs that live on the pubic hairs in the genital area.
5. Gonorrhoea is a treatable bacterial infection of the penis, vagina, or anus that causes pain and a burning feeling as well as a pus-like discharge. Also known as “the clap”, it frequently affects young people aged 15-25.
6. Hepatitis is a disease that affects the liver. There are more than four types. Hepatitis A and B have vaccines available to prevent infection.
7. Herpes or genital herpes is a recurrent skin condition that can cause skin irritations in the genital region (anus, vagina, and penis).
8. Human Papillomavirus/Genital Warts or HPV is a virus that affects the skin in the genital area, as well as a female’s cervix. Depending on the type of HPV involved, symptoms can be in the form of wart-like growths or abnormal cell changes.
9. Molluscum Contagiosum is a skin disease that is caused by a virus, usually causing lesions or bumps. Once a children’s disease, it has evolved to infect adults as well, often as the result of sexual contact.
10. Non-gonococcal Urethritis (NGU) is a treatable bacterial infection of the urethra (the tube within the penis), oftentimes associated with Chlamydia.
11. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) infection of the female reproductive organ by Chlamydia, gonorrhea, or other bacteria.
12. Scabies is a treatable skin disease caused by the parasite Sacroptes scabei. It spreads rapidly in crowded conditions and where there is frequent skin-to-skin contact.
13. Syphilis is a treatable bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body and affect the heart, brain, nerves it not treated. “Syph”can also lead to insanity just like in the 18th or earlier centuries.
14. Vaginitis is caused by different germs including yeast and trichomoniasis, vaginitis is an infection of the vagina resulting in itching, burning, vaginal discharge, and an odd or pungent odor.
Intensified medical examination
Every out-patient clinic in the country, where the seafarers usually undergo medical examination, didn't include HIV/AIDS test. The sailor don't know if the flailing situation in the maritime industry, due to political maneuverings, will take the lead to include such sensitive test.
More and more seafarers died in silence and didn't create so much stir in the Philippine media. Unlike, well-known personalities who are advocates agaisnt this dreaded diseases; they're the ones getting high publicities and media mileage.
Seafarers should not take this issue sitting down and shrugging each own shoulders.
The sailor cannot face the blank wall in silence. A unified action against HIV/AIDS is needed in the maritime sector.
UNITE and Fight AIDS by Tearfund
Questions and Answers about HIV and AIDS
In these times of modern science and technology, we still cannot solve or eradicate the existence of deadly diseases, especially sex-related illnesses that cause death for those who are inflicted with it. Majority of those affected by HIV/AIDS didn't follow the safe methods when engaging in sex. Being sexually active is not bad to an individual if he/she will take the needed safety precautions when indulging with one's partner. This book from Amazon can change your outlook on SEX, its Facts and Myths.