HIV/AIDS cases still on the rise — Official PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 30 November 2015 14:42

Despite massive  efforts,  the cases  of  human immunodeficiency  virus/acquired  immunodeficiency  syndrome (HIV/AIDS) in the country have  continued  to  rise, a  health official  said.

“If  we  look at the  global  map  on  HIV/AIDS, Philippines  has  remained  on the  red,”  said Dr. Alah Baby Vingno,  assistant  provincial  health officer of South Cotabato  as  she reported  on the  the HIV/AIDS  during the  1st Regional  HIV/AIDS Congress at  The Farm@Carpenter Hill  last week

“This means that the number of  HIV  cases  in the  country increases  by  more than 25 percent each year.”

Citing  data  from the  HIV/AIDS  Anti-Retroviral Registry of the Philippines (HARP),  Dr. Vingno said, the number  new HIV cases  in the  country  has  increased   by 1,038  percent in only 6  years (2008 to 2014).

This  translates, she explained,  to  22 new  cases each  day at  present as  compared to only  1 case per day  in 2008.

Celestino Ramirez  of the  AIDS  Society of the Philippines who also spoke at the congress, noted that in  June this year,  Philippines has  reached  a record of  one  case per hour.

Vingno expounded  that  most of the  HIV cases in the  country   are  getting  younger,  with ages ranging  from 15 to 24 years old and  25 to 34 years old. Majority are  men having sex with  other men.

According to  the HARP,  as of September  2015, the  country  has 28, 426  persons living with HIV.

Meanwhile,  SOCCSKSARGEN Region  has recorded  a total of 551  HIV/AIDS cases  from 1989 to  September  2015.

Of  this  number,  348 are  reported in  South Cotabato and General Santos City; 314  of them are  male.

Same database indicated that 120  are within  ages 15 to 24  years old and 171  are within ages 25 to 34 years  old.

“Based on the trend that the number of  cases is  increasing,  it is  alarming,”  Dr. Francisco  Mateo, assistant  regional director of the Department of Health 12, said when asked to assess the  HIV/AIDS situation in  SOCCSKSARGEN Region.

Along with other health officials, however, he noted that the  rising number of  reported HIV cases could also  be attributed to the  increasing awareness, especially  among members of the target sectors, regarding the  importance of  undergoing  HIV testing.

“Instead  of blaming my fellow health workers, I do  recognize  them because they were able to entice individuals to surface and  submit for  voluntary  counseling  and testing, which is  why the  number of HIV cases in South Cotabato spiked,” said  Dr. Rogelio  Aturdido  Jr.,  provincial  health officer.

He emphasized that  knowing  the victims  of  HIV, the  capability of the health service providers and the  support system available “is  the beginning in winning the battle against  HIV AIDS.”  (DEDoguiles-PIA 12)