DAVAO City recorded an average 40 cases of human immunodeficiency virus-acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV-Aids) per month this year, based on the monitoring of the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC).

Dr. Jordana Ramiterre, head physician at RHWC, said that 396 HIV-AIDS cases were recorded from January to September 2022, which is equivalent to at least 40 to 44 cases per month.

This is an increase from the monthly average recorded in Davao City in the past as Ramiterre admitted that cases have been steadily increasing in the last five years.

In Davao City, an average of 32 cases per month was the norm back in 2017 to 2021.

“Kung tanawon nimo siya, murag gamay ra man pero if we look back sa atong past five years, naga-increase gihapon siya (If we look at the data, the number of cases may seem few but it actually increased in the past five years). Gamay ang pag increase but consistent gihapon ang pagsaka (The increase is small but it is consistent),” Ramiterre said on December 5.

Ramiterre told SunStar Davao that the number of cases increased because of the promotion of HIV-AIDS services that encourages more people to submit themselves to testing. At the same time, social media and the dating lifestyle of individuals also play a role.

“Risky behaviors, explorative young people, and younger sexual debut,” she said.

The majority of HIV-AIDS patients are between 25 to 34 years old, which is considered the prime reproductive age group. It is followed by 15 to 24 years old, and 35 to 49 years old.

Although the number is few, there are also cases of patients aged less than 15 years old, usually because of mother-to-child transmission, and above 50 years old.

“Mga reproductive age group, biologically, sexually, mao man gyod ni ang active na age group (Biologically and sexually, the reproductive age group is really the most active),” Ramiterre said.

Based on RHWC monitoring, the usual transmission of HIV-AIDS is still sexual interaction, usually unprotected penetrative sex between men. The other modes are blood transmission and mother-to-child transmission.

As the most populous city, Davao City comprises at least 80 percent of the overall number of HIV-AIDS cases in the Davao Region.

There have been a total of 4,171 cases of HIV-AIDS in Davao City since the first case was first confirmed in 1993. Since it is incurable, Ramiterre said patients only submit to consistent treatments to manage their health and wellness.

“Dili ma-total ang active cases kay lahi-lahi man na facility. Ang active gyud, maybe nasa 2,000 plus (We do not have a total yet because the data comes from different facilities but current active cases may be around more than 2,000),” she said.

On average, the Davao Region places 6th with the most number of HIV-AIDS cases against the national figure.

The National Capital Region has the most cases, followed by Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, then Davao.

“Ang Davao, dako pud ta na population so na-consider gyod siya na category based meaning to say taas ang iyang contribution sa national data (We have a big population in Davao so we have a significant contribution to the national data),” Ramiterre said. ICM