This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.
TACLOBAN, Philippines – Health officials in Tacloban City are alarmed by the increasing number of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) cases in the city.
Records from the Tacloban City Health Office (CHO) showed a total of 48 new confirmed cases from January to July this year, contributing to a cumulative total of 287 cases since the first recorded case in 1984.
The increase in cases is very significant, and it is alarming, said Dr. Danilo Ecarma, Tacloban City’s health officer, told Rappler on Thursday, December 7.
The local health office also documented one AIDS-related death in Tacloban in April of this year.
Health officials are particularly concerned about the rise in HIV/AIDS cases among Tacloban’s youth, who continue to be the most vulnerable and at the highest risk.
According to Ecarma, the most affected and productive age group for HIV/AIDS is between 24 and 35, with 70% of cases involving gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.
“This is due to the high-risk behaviors of the youth,” he said.
The Tacloban health office is now intensifying its advocacy efforts regarding HIV/AIDS.
Ecarma emphasized that despite no vaccine being available to cure the disease, providing better education and understanding of the disease and encouraging sporadic testing can save lives.
“It also helps increase the tolerance and empathy of individuals who have contracted the disease. By addressing fears and reducing discrimination and stigmas, which are the leading reasons why only a few undergo testing,” Ecarma said.
Tacloban’s health office offers free counseling and testing, while EVRMC provides antiretroviral therapy and has 12 HIV Treatment Hubs and one Primary HIV Care Clinic. – Rappler.com