HIV cases in Central Visayas hit 4,165 – DOH
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The number of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has already reached 4,165 as of June this year, the total since 1984 when data was first gathered, the Department of Health (DOH) 7 said on Wednesday, November 29.
Some 257 persons have also been confirmed with full-blown Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) during the period, according to Dr. Van Philip Baton, coordinator of Re-Emerging Infectious Disease Program of DOH 7.
Out of the total HIV cases in Central Visayas as of June this year, the province of Cebu accounted for 3,665 cases and 219 AIDS cases. Bohol followed with 153 HIV cases and 27 AIDS cases. Negros Oriental registered 84 HIV and 15 AIDS cases while Siquijor had 6 HIV cases.
“Cebu province, including the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu, posted the majority of the new cases this year. This could be explained by the fact that Cebu is a gateway to Mindanao and the Visayas areas, where people just come and go,” Baton stressed.
By mode of transmission, sharing of infected needles remain the top causes of HIV infections in Central Visayas, accounting for 1,852 of the total cases. Transmission due to male to male unprotected sex comes next with 1,048 cases.
Baton said the national data showed that transmission due to male to male unprotected sex is the top cause of the spread of HIV, followed by the sharing of infected needles.
HIV patients in the region are also getting younger, Baton added.
“Majority of our cases fall under the age group of 25-34 years old, these are our young professionals, the new blood in the industry,” he said.
In Cebu, the said age group accounts for 1,878 of the total cases. Notably, the age group of 15-24 accounted for 1,220 cases.
“The June data shows a trend. And the trend is that there is a steady increase of HIV cases in the region,” he added.
Baton said that despite the efforts of DOH in coming up with programs to prevent the spread of infection, the major challenge is on how to encourage the people to submit themselves to testing especially those who engage in sexual activities.
He sees the continuous society’s discrimination and the stigma against people with HIV as the reason on why people do not seek help because they are ashamed of what others might say against them. – Rappler.com