SOME 48 new cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV-Aids) were recorded in Northern Mindanao region from January to February this year, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) regional office said.
Dr. Dave Mendoza said that although this is higher by about 14 percent compared to the figure recorded in the same period last year, the number is not alarming.
Instead, the regional health office considered this a positive development that more and more people are coming out and having themselves tested.
"Sa amo nga part, mao na ni among produkto sa among singot, because people are already coming over to us talking about their problem, so kung magpadayon ni basin puhon in the next 10 years wala nay new cases kay nakuha naman nato tanan," Mendoza said.
(We consider this the fruit of our labor – that people are reporting and talking about their problem. If this continues in the next 10 years, there will be no new cases.)
"Gamay ra na kaayo, 14% higher siya last year pero kami nagpasalamat mi nga nanggawas na sila hinay-hinay kay nakita nato in the next 5-10 years makita gyud nato ang real nga epidemic sa HIV, kay naa paman gyuy gatago, kay aduna paman tay stigma and we hope to see in the coming years that there will be no more stigma," he added.
(The 14% increase is very small. We are thankful that people living with HIV are coming out. There are still some who do not report their illness because of the stigma.)
On the national scale, Mendoza said the DOH records about 31 cases of HIV cases per day, adding that the male-to-male transmission is still the number one risk of getting the disease.
Mendoza urged all those who are at risk of contracting the disease to avail of the free HIV test done every day in designated health centers and hospitals.
"Since HIV law was enacted, nagsugod taas ang kaso, kay we are able to build trust already to our patients so expected na siya nga mosaka, but naa gihapon panahon na mo plateau na siya and when that happens, okay nata going down na dayon ta ana," he said.
(The number of cases has been increasing since the HIV law was enacted because we are starting the build trust among the victims. We expect the figures to continue increasing until it plateaus. Then it would start to go down.)
Mendoza said the number of HIV cases is expected to increase given the department's intensified awareness campaign.
He said the department's service delivery network has also increased which means that their HIV-AIDS programs and interventions have circulated in the communities.
"Gataas ang among service delivery network kay daghan naman among natabangan kay maskin naay HIV they can live as normal as they want to."
HIV is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse (anal/vaginal), transfusion of contaminated blood, sharing of contaminated needles and between a mother and her infant during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
Over the weekend, the local organizations advocating against stigma of the HIV-AIDS held a simple ceremony for the International Aids Candlelight Memorial.
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial serves as a community mobilization campaign to raise social consciousness about HIV and AIDS.
It serves as an important intervention for global solidarity, breaking down barriers of stigma and discrimination, and giving hope to new generations.