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38 daily cases of HIV may affect blood supply quality: Gordon

PHILIPPINE RED CROSS (PRC) chairperson and Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday said the increasing number of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases this year could affect the supply of quality blood products nationwide.

According to the Department of Health’s (DOH) latest HIV registry, around 38 new cases of HIV are recorded daily so far in 2019, a significant rise from the 32 new cases per day in 2018.

The DOH reported there were 1,172 new cases of HIV in March and 215 of them were already in the advanced stage of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

To date, a total of 3,434 cases has been recorded by the department.

“I’m glad that Secretary (Francisco) Duque and I see eye to eye, the threat of HIV is not insurmountable but we have to act on it quickly,” Gordon said in a press briefing.

Gordon said the PRC is integrating a nucleic acid test (NAT) to its system to allow accurate detection of HIV contraction among donors.

“NAT testing will reduce the Filipino population’s exposure to HIV. Let us intensify our HIV prevention campaign through peer education,” he added.

Philippine Blood Coordinating Council president Gary Ong, who was also in the press briefing, reiterated the importance of healthy lifestyle among the donors to ensure the availability of safe blood products for all those in need of blood transfusion.

Ong said those who are interested to donate blood must at least be 16 to 65 years old, weighs at least 50 kilos, physically and mentally fit, must have 125 grams per liter hemoglobin for females and 135 grams per liter hemoglobin for males, and must not have high blood pressure and diabetes.

“If you’re practicing high-risk behavior like multiple sex partners, men having sex with men, drug use and abuse, please avert from donating blood,” he added.

The PRC has 93 blood service facilities which include 27 blood centers, 66 blood collecting stations, and 11 apheresis centers.

It has established new facilities in Albay, Bogo, Mountain Province, and Calamba.(By Ma. Teresa Montemayor)

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