KALIBO, Aklan -- The number of people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Western Visayas continues to increase, with at least one case recorded every nine hours in the region.
According to the Center for Health and Development (CHD), a total of 3,253 cases were recorded in the region from 1986 to March this year. Of this figure, 3,067 were males and 186 were females.
Also, 79 cases of HIV were recorded in March 2019, compared to the 50 cases recorded in March last year. In January 2018, there were 69 new cases, and this increased to 92 in January this year. In February 2019, 71 cases were recorded, compared to the 67 in the same period last year.
The CHD said all of the provinces in Western Visayas, including Iloilo and Bacolod cities, have their respective HIV-Aids cases.
Data revealed that Iloilo City has 802 HIV cases, followed by Iloilo province with 687, Negros Occidental with 568, Bacolod City with 518, Capiz with 234, Aklan with 215, Antique with 166, and Guimaras with 64.
Debbie Villaflor, HIV-Aids-STD coordinator in Western Visayas, said most of the cases involved "male to male" transmission.
To combat the increase of the number of cases, "the Aklan Provincial Government has continuously implemented programs urging male to male to practice safe sex," said Villaflor.
She said Aklan, like the rest of the region, is reorganizing the provincial Aids council to include members of the Sangguniang Kabataan.
The municipal HIV-Aids councils in the province are also being organized, she added.
The Aklan Provincial Government is also offering free screening on HIV-Aids and it has partnered with a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) group called "Butterfly Brigade," which has been organizing beauty pageants that advocate against the spread of HIV-Aids. (Jun N. Aguirre/SunStar Philippines)