THE Reproductive Health & Wellness Center (RHWC)-Davao reported on Tuesday that there have been 76 cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV-Aids) recorded in Davao City from January to February, this year.

RHWC-Davao head Dr. Jordana Ramiterre said the number of the HIV-Aids cases in the city have been increasing despite the awareness campaign initiated by health groups in coordination with other local government agencies.

Based on record, 59 were found to have been afflicted with HIV while 17 others have full-blown Aids. Of the total cases, 74 are males and two are females.

Davao City has already 1,503 HIV-Aids cases since 1984.

Ramiterre said age group with most cases during the period range from 17-53. There are 25 male and female aged 15-24 afflicted with the disease, 41 25-34 years old, nine 35-49 years old, and one 50 above aged.

Easier access to services, issue on sexual practices and change of the behavior among young generation as part of the reasons of the HIV-Aids cases, Ramiterre said.

She added that people vulnerable to the virus are those who engaged into risky sexual behaviors, casual sex, multiple partners, frequent change of partners and the same sexual relationship (on the economic aspect).

In Davao Region, the top cities and municipalities with the highest number of HIV cases are Davao with 1,275, Tagum with 58, Digos with 32, Panabo with 29, and Sto. Tomas with 20.

Other areas included Mati with 15, Sta. Cruz with 12, Nabunturan with 11, Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) with 10, Asuncion with eight, and Maragusan with eight. This is based on the last quarter of 2015 data.

Ramiterre said the virus has become alarming. She added that there has been a sudden increase of the cases, from 17 reported cases per day in 2014 to 27 cases per day in 2016.

On the other hand, there are already 13 testing centers in Davao Region and nine of these are concentrated in Davao City, Ramiterre said. She added that aside from the testing centers, all hospitals in Davao City are also open for testing.

The virus can be prevented by limiting sex partners, have less risky sex, not to inject drugs, get tested, know your partner's status, and by using protection. But protection is not 100 percent helpful if a person is already HIV positive.

Ramiterre said regardless of the free HIV testing that every center and all hospitals offer, still only few individuals are interested to be tested.

The RHWC has encouraged people to have their free HIV test in order to address the increasing number of cases, Ramiterre said. (Ivy C. Tejano/With reports from MC Calonozo, Jessery Edem, and RG Villarico/NDDU interns)