THE Department of Health (DOH) 7 said three people get infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) every day in Central Visayas.
Van Baton, DOH 7 focal person for HIV/AIDS, said the state of HIV cases in the country, especially in Central Visayas, is now very alarming.
In February, 90 cases were added to the recorded data of the DOH in Region 7 alone.
Based on DOH 7 records, there were 8,104 people living with HIV in the region in 2018, and there is a seven percent increase in the first five months of 2019. If this trend continues, by 2022, there will be an estimated 10,279 people living with HIV in the region.
Baton said Cebu remains with the highest number of HIV cases in Central Visayas.
Baton said in Central Visayas, the top three causes of the spread of HIV are its sexual transmission especially among homosexuals, the sharing of syringes or needles, and the transmission of the virus from the affected mother to her child.
Baton said in the recent years, the age group which is mostly affected by the HIV cases is also going down. In Region 7, those mostly affected are those from 25 to 34 years old, but in the national level, it is the five to 24 age group.
Baton blames these on the lack of knowledge and the failure of those at risk to get checked.
“Have yourselves checked. Medical checkup is very important,” said Baton.
To help control the spread, the DOH has increased the number of treatment centers in Region 7. Central Visayas used to have only three treatment centers, but there are 13 centers offering free treatments.
“Do not delay if you think you’re positive because every day and every hour that you’re positive with no treatment, every contact with someone means increasing the risk of transmitting it (HIV),” Baton said.
Baton said getting the community involved is a good strategy to stop the spread of HIV.
The DOH will conduct forums about HIV/AIDS awareness on May 17 in Cebu City, Bohol province and Compostela. They will also have a fun run on May 19. (JJL)