BAGUIO CITY – Health authorities revealed that cases of Human Immune Virus – Acute Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) in the region rose to two hundred forty eight this year which warrants public awareness on the serious effects of the dreaded virus.
Geeny Anne Austria, STI-HIV Coordinator of the Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH_CAR), said that from 1984 to April 2016, there were already 17 fatalities due to the said illness while 18 of the 248 reported HIV cases were able to develop to full blown AIDS cases.
Baguio City topped the different local governments in the region with the most number of HIV-AIDS cases with 177, followed by Benguet with 33, Abra – 27 cases, Apayao – 7 cases, Ifugao and Mountain Province with 5 cases each and Kalinga with 4 cases of the total number of HIV-AIDS cases regionwide, composed of 219 males and 29 females. From January to April this year, there were no females that were infected by the dreaded virus while there were a total of 19 males who were tested positive of the HIV-AIDS, with 7 cases recorded in April alone.
Austria added that the 108 persons with HIV-AIDS belong to the age group 25 to 34, followed by 65 from the age group 34 to 49, then 63 from those belonging to the age group 15 to 24, while 10 came from those aged 50 and above, and two were aged 15 years old.
In terms of mode of transmission, she reported that homosexuals topped the list with 111 cases followed by heterosexuals with 66 cases, bisexuals with 64 cases, unknown mode of transmission with 4 cases, perinatal with 2 cases and transfusion with 1 case.
According to her, there were 58 HIV-AIDS cases involving overseas Filipino workers during the 34-year old reckoning period.
She claimed the increasing number of individuals affected by HIV-AIDS through men having sex with men is considered to be alarming, thus, the need for concerned government agencies, local governments and various stakeholders to be involved in the massive information education campaign for everyone to practice safe sex as a means to avoid infection.
The STI-HIV coordinator called on sexually active individuals, particularly those in the commercial sex industry, to voluntarily undergo HIV testing available in different government hospitals regionwide for early detection of the disease so that appropriate health interventions could be recommended to prevent the disease from becoming full blown AIDS.
The DOH-CAR continues to partner with various government hospitals and accredited health care facilities to increase awareness of the public on appropriate ways and means on preventing getting infection and for those who already acquired the disease to be aware of the needed interventions that will prevent the disease from eventually escalating to full blown AIDS./By Dexter A. See