HIV/Aids cases: The numbers are going up and up

A TOTAL of 6,382 people in Davao City were diagnosed with Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV-Aids) from 2014 to April of this year as recorded by the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region.

DOH-Davao Regional HIV-Aids/Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Program Manager Maria Teresa Requillo said an increasing pattern of HIV patients was observed by the regional department with an estimated 400 new patients recorded every year.

In 2014, there were 1,090 HIV patients in the city, which increased to 1,427 cases in 2015. While in 2016, 1,863 patients were recorded and increased to 1,997 as of April 2017.

“Most of the recorded HIV patients in the city came from different parts of the country who resided in the city to either study or work. This means that the spread of HIV cannot be isolated but can be prevented,” Requillo said.

She said the constant number growth of patients every year is due to the combined efforts of the city and DOH in bringing HIV testing facilities to community-level, making it easier for health officials to regularly assess the HIV rating.

There were a total of 178 individuals from January to April of this year who tested positive with HIV-Aids, 12 are females and 166 are males. Also, 68 of the total number belong to the age ranges 15 to 24, 85 patients with ages 25 to 34, 24 patients with ages 35 to 49, and only one case for 5o years-old and above.

The common mode of transmission among the patients, Requillo said, has remained to be through homosexual intercourse, specifically with homosexual men. Among the 178 total new cases from January to April, 101 were involved in heterosexual copulation.

Three died from January to April of this year, bringing the total to 109 deaths from the past years.

Requillo said poverty has been the major cause of HIV-Aid population growth that has caused some financially-challenged people to engage in transactional sex.

Aside from that, she added that there is still a persisting lack of HIV awareness especially among the youth, thus, encouraging schools and parents to guide and teach their children at the earliest time possible regarding the risk brought by early sex engagement.

As for adults, Requillo said many are engaging in risky sexual engagements such as having multiple sex partners and non-usage of condoms.

“We are protecting everyone. Thus, we continue the information dissemination as that is the least thing we can do to control the growing number of HIV cases, not only in the city, but throughout the country,” she said.
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