HEALTH SECRETARY Francisco Duque III has reiterated that intensified public awareness and voluntary testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) would make a difference in preventing the spread of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
“Dapat sila ay magpa-test kasi yun ang pinakamaganda para maibsan ang pagkalat nito (They should be tested because this is the best way to control the spread),” Duque said.
The HIV/AIDS Registry of the Philippines recorded that from 1984-2006, the predominant mode of transmission was male-female sex. However, beginning 2007, the trend spiked to males having sex with males (MSM) as the predominant mode of transmission and has continually increased.
The data also revealed that there were a total of 66 deaths due to HIV/AIDS. The data further showed that sexual contact remains to be the predominant mode of transmission among the 905 cases. Of this figure, a total of 774 individuals or 86 percent were under the MSM category.
Duque said that through counseling, which is being offered in HIV testing hubs and centers, the persons who tested positive can be linked to the medical care and treatment they need. On the other hand, those who were tested negative are given information on the practice of safe sex including the use of condoms.
“We have prevention, treatment care and support interventions. In our prevention program, we have HIV-AIDS education,” he said, adding, that since it is really difficult to prevent sexual contact, the best way to prevent the further spread of HIV/AIDS is by providing protection under the government program. More than 900 newly-diagnosed cases of HIV were recorded in the month of April alone.
“There were 924 new HIV anti-body sero-positive individuals reported to the April 2018 HIV/AIDS Registry of the Philippines (HARP),” according to a data from the Department of Health (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau.
In comparison, the figure is higher than the 628 HIV cases reported in April 2017. Of the total cases for April 2018, some 19 percent or 179 had clinical manifestations of having advanced HIV infection or AIDS. The data also revealed that there were a total of 66 deaths due HIV/AIDS.
The data further showed that sexual contact remains to be the predominant mode of transmission among the 905 cases.
A total of 774 individuals or 86 percent were under the MSM category. Aside from sexual contact, another mode of transmission was needle sharing among injecting drug users, with 13 cases or 1 percent of the total number of cases.
There was also one case of mother-to-child transmission while another five cases had no data on the mode of transmission, the HARP report said. The data also showed that one-third or 30 percent (282 cases) were diagnosed from the National Capital Region. It was followed by Calabarzon (18 percent, 164 cases); Central Luzon (13 percent, 117); Central Visayas (8 percent, 71); Davao Region (5 percent, 50); and Western Visayas (5 percent, 44).
Since 1984 up to the present, the DOH recorded around 54,332 HIV cases. From the figure, around 5,700 progressed into AIDS cases while around 2,598 resulted to deaths. According to DOH, a person may die not because of HIV but due to “opportunistic infections” or complications which can occur to patients as they acquire HIV.
The DOH has been providing anti-retroviral treatment among the patients as well as free testing at its HIV hubs and treatment centers. (Leilani Junio)
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