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The Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center (OMMC) Department of Dermatology, in partnership with the Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS) Sexually Transmitted Infection Subspecialty Core Group conducted a webinar entitled “Gender, Bender, Fender: LGBTQIA+, STIs and Sexual Health”, held last August 28, 2019 at the Diamond Hotel, Manila. This webinar was part of the PDS Continuing Medical Education (CME) series broadcasted live to all members of the society. Actual participants present at the event were the OMMC Department of Dermatology consultants, residents, distinguished guest speakers, together with other members of the PDS including OMMC Dermatology alumna, Manila Vice Mayor Maria Sheilah “Honey” Lacuna-Pangan, MD, FPDS.

Dr. Armelia Andrea Lapitan- Torres was the host of the event. The affair was commenced with a solemn invocation led by Dr. Mary Ann Abesamis. Opening remarks was delivered by the OMMC Department of Dermatology Training Officer, Dr. Eileen Regalado-Morales, wherein she stated the importance of addressing STIs specifically Syphilis because of the tremendous increase of STI infections in the recent years. She also mentioned that understanding LGBTQIA+ is a must for us physicians since we are also called to strengthen and protect measures to ensure full respect of the rights of all humans irrespective of their actual or perceived SOGIESC. She also mentioned the importance of medical professionalism in the digital age.

Dr. Melissa Chua presenting a case of a patient with Syphillis

The program proper was started off with a case of a patient with Secondary Syphilis who presented with erythematous papules and plaques alongside with uveitis, that was presented by Dr. Melissa Chua, a second year resident. The first guest speaker and reactor to the case, Dr. Vicente Victor Ocampo, President of the Philippine Ocular Inflammation Society, gave an informative lecture on ocular syphilis together with its ophthalmic findings. Known as “The Great Masquerader”, ocular syphilis has various manifestations, the most common of which is uveitis. Furthermore, he emphasized that patients with syphilis presenting with concurrent eye symptoms warrants investigation and proper diagnostic tests as retinal involvement denotes neurosyphilis. Management of the disease was also discussed. This was then followed by a lecture given by Dr. Gilbert Yang on updates of Syphilis from the World Congress 2019. He discussed the stages of syphilis, and the treatment based on the current CDC guidelines. The need for cerebrospinal fluid examination in patients showing signs of neurologic involvement was also tackled. To end his presentation, Dr. Yang reiterated that in handling patients with a sexually transmitted infection, 5 Cs should be taken into consideration: counseling, compliance to treatment, condom use, contact tracing and compassion.

On the second half of the CME, the third speaker Professor John Andrew Evangelista, talked about a trending topic SOGIESC which stands for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sexual Characteristics. He stated that various concepts can be utilized as guidelines to understand diverse identities that exist currently in the society. Lastly, Dr. Malaya Santos gave an applicable lecture that doctors can all benefit from Medical Professionalism in this Digital Age. She highlighted the importance of patient confidentiality and the appropriate way of providing medical information to the community through social media. She stated that medical professionalism is about giving our patients the best health care with shared competency standards and ethical values in mind.

Left to right: Dr. Vicente Victor Ocampo, Dr. Malaya Santos, Dr. Gilbert Yang, and Dr. Armelia Andrea Lapitan-Torres.

After all the lectures, participants were given the opportunity to clarify the topics discussed through an interactive open forum. This was consequently followed by closing remarks given by Dr. Mary Charmaine Castillo, Secretary of the Philippine Dermatological Society. At the end of the day, it was a very informative and fruitful learning experience for everyone who tuned in to “Gender Bender Fender: LGBTQIA+, STIs and Sexual Health” through webcast and at the actual event. Genuinely, the PDS Continuing Medical Education aids supports its members and residents with updates and trends in both fields of medicine and dermatology to sustain and uphold the highest standards as being the #DermAuthority.

Left to right: Dr. Mary Ann Abesamis, Dr. Armelia Lapitan-Torres, Dr. Eileen Regalado-Torres, Vice Mayor Sheilah “Honey” Lacuna-Pangan, Dr. Jeannie Jacinto, and Dr. Marcellano Cruz

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