IN TERMS of prevalence and incidence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV-Aids), Cagayan de Oro city ranks second.
Fritzie Estoque, Misamis Oriental Cagayan de Oro Aids Network (Mocan) chairperson, said: “Every week, gasaka siya (HIV-Aids) and CdeO is number 2 in terms of prevalence and incidence.”
Dr. Evelyn Magsayo, head of the Infectious Disease Cluster of the Department of Health (DOH)-Northern Mindanao, said one HIV case every hour occurred in 2015 and the increase rose to around 25 cases every day since March 2016.
Magsayo said only 15 percent of male having sex with male (MSM) have adequate knowledge on HIV prevention. Only eight percent of MSM undergo HIV testing and know the results and only 36 percent of MSM use condoms consistently.
People infected with the disease continue to soar mainly because of the advocacy and information that reached to those doubtful of their status.
Estoque said Mocan does not fully take the increasing number as a negative impact.
"Ang attribution ani katong nag-come out na and dili lang negative ang impact aning pagsaka sa number because it means ang atong advocacy nakaabot sa ila," Estoque said.
Estoque urged those who are Aids positive to come out and get help since treatment and help are available.
"Kinahanglan nato magsaba-saba nga fruitful para maka disseminate sa information. We desire to save more people ang mga natakdan, they need to get help para mas molungtad ilang kinabuhi," Estoque said.
Estoque said that Aids has always remained a challenging reality, as she is calling on the public to make it a personal advocacy.
"Do something in your respective field, these people living with HIV-Aids want to feel love because most of them are victims of stigma and discrimination," Estoque added.
With the new sets of leaders running the government, the group clings to the hope that more support, whatever may be, could be provided and delivered to these people living with HIV/Aids.
Estoque added that the government aid remains lacking as they pin hope on the next administration from the top to the lowest positions in the government to allot some budget for the welfare of Aids positive.
Data from the health department in 2015 showed the government spent P35,000 per patient per year; P19,000 for laboratory tests and P16,000 for Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. In the same year, the DOH also procured P165 million worth of AVRs.
End stigma, discrimination
On Sunday, May 15, HIV-Aids advocates called on the public to end stigma and discrimination on people living with HIV-Aids, as they commemorated the 34th International Aids Candlelight memorial and mobilization at a mall here.
Spearheaded by Mocan together with other partners, the advocates also urged the stakeholders to take the issue seriously and take part in the continuous battle against HIV-Aids.
The group also unveiled an exhibit dubbed as "Hinulibis" or quilt, a symbolic picture and visual tools to remember those who died because of Aids and those persons living with HIV who continually struggle and strive for survival.
The "Hinulibis" are pieces of cloth gathered from people living with HIV.