THE province of Misamis Oriental is first among the five provinces in Northern Mindanao Region in terms of the number of people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV-Aids), the Department of Health reported Friday.
Trailing Misamis Oriental on the list is Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, and Camiguin.
Ian Jose Baang, a nurse at the DOH's Infectious Diseases Cluster, said that from 1991 to September 2015, about 140 cases of HIV-Aids have already been recorded in the province.
Sixty-five of these, Baang said, is in Cagayan de Oro City.
Baang added that Tagoloan town has four cases, two cases in Opol town, and five in Gingoog City, all recorded this year.
Baang said the region contributed much to the Philippines' rank globally.
"We are third place, following Indonesia and Bangladesh na naa sa top. Naay 22 Filipinos na ma-report na everyday na ma-apektuhan, ingana kapaspas ang pag-grow," Baang said.
For the last six years, the DOH reported 1,038 percent increase of the cases, adding that there are already 42,439 reported people living with HIV (PLHIV).
He said the most vulnerable group are males having sex with males, freelance female sex workers, and regular female sex workers.
"And among these groups, homosexual and bisexual gyud ang affected," Baang said.
He said sex workers are encouraged to use condoms for a safe sex.
But Baang expressed surprise to find that a DOH survey showed that the top reason why persons do not use condom is supposedly because condoms are not readily available.
"We just want them to know na dali na kaayo ma-access ang condoms sa health centers and hospitals. We cannot tell you to have abstinence, since right man siguro nato na ang makig-sex, ang ato nalang is to do it safely," Baang said.