DEATHS of patients with Human Immunodefiency Virus-Acute Immunodefiency Syndrome (HIV-Aids) in Davao City have caused alarm even as an HIV-Aids advocate said those who go to hospitals already suffer from severe forms of complications.
Razz Catipan, secretary of Mindanao Aids Advocate Inc., who was guest during the I-Speak media forum held on Thursday, May 17, said that as of April this year, the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) has noted four deaths from Aids.
“Kung patay estoryahan dili sya ma-zero. Toxic naman gud, atong client, naa na sila sa stages nga dili na sila pwede ma-recover kumbaga damaged na ang ilang immune system (If we talk about deaths we usually do not have zero record. Their infection is already on toxic level and they are in the stages where they could not easily recover, and their immune system has already been damaged),” Catipan said.
“Last March we also had few deaths,” he said.
Catipan said the complications out of HIV-Aids, like tuberculosis and pneumonia, are usually first treated by doctors before treatment medicines for HIV-Aids are given.
He said the three rooms within SPMC intended for those diagnosed with Aids are never empty.
“Our rooms are usually full. We have special rooms, the patients come from Davao region and other provinces,” he said.
The cases of patients include different infections, which occur when the immunity of the body is low.
Catipan said in March the youngest client they have is only 17 years old. But right now the patient is in good condition.
Precilla Senoc of the Davao City Aids Council pointed out the age of persons acquiring HIV is getting younger.
“It is increasing and it is getting younger kay ang age level taas ang kadtong 25-34 years old which is 26,757 for the whole Philippines, eto na kasi ang age group na naa nay mga trabaho and some are bisexual,” she said.
She said there is high number of transmission for those who pay for sexual intercourse because they are the ones who will decide if they will use condoms or not.
“Usually when one is in need of money, he/she will agree on P5,000 pay without protection. Usually HIV is crucial in terms of behavior, what we have really been advocating about prevention,” she said.
Sexual intercourse, according to Senoc is still primary mode of transmission.
She said they always call for people to practice safe sex using protection.
Other forms of transmission are blood transfusion, use of syringes in injecting drugs, infection through mother to child through pregnancy, natural delivery and breast milk.
Senoc said to prevent transmission they advocate for abstinence, being mutually faithful to sexual partners, which is a challenge since the gender biased society or the macho society thinks that men who have several partners are considered “real men”.
Among the things they also advocate is the correct use of condoms, avoidance of sharing needles, education and information on HIV-Aids, and early detection through the testing.
She said there is a free screening at the City Health Office (CHO) under the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC).
“If you avail that service outside, it will cost P600, at SPMC the MAAI offers it for free. It is people’s right to access medical services,” she said.
Senoc said at RHWC, there are mechanisms used that allow test results to be available after one hour. This is much easier compared before wherein results were only known a month after.
She added that the RHWC is now also a treatment hub where people can access anti-retroviral drugs or drugs that suppress the infection of the HIV-Aids for free.
Senoc said that they have trained counselors for pre-test and post-test counseling for those who will come at RHWC. CHO is also doing orientation seminars for barangay councils on HIV-Aids prevention.
“Some of the barangays included information dissemination of HIV –AIDS in their Gender and Development Budget,” she said.
She added that as much as possible they integrate gender sensitivity on their orientation for them to stop the mentality that the spread of HIV are caused by members of LGBT.
Senoc said that since January 1984-February2018, a total of 2330 persons are with HIV in Davao City, with a total of 109 deaths.
In the Philippines since January 1984- February 2018 February, a total of 52,280 HIV-Aids patients were recorded with 2,511 deaths.
At Rizal Park at 5 p.m., Friday, May 18, the CHO together with MAAII invite various stakeholders to join the International Candlelight memorial for all those who died from HIV-Aids.