THE Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) in Bacolod City has enrolled 81 patients of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/Aids) from January to June 2016, almost 40 percent higher than the 58 clients listed for the same period last year.

CLMMRH through its HIV/Aids Core Team (HACT) recorded seven confirmed cases last January, which significantly increased in the succeeding months.

In February this year, the hospital enrolled 15 patients in Negros Occidental; March - 14; April - 15; May - 15; and June, another 15.

Records also showed that from 2007 to 2012, 64 patients were tested positive of the disease.

It slightly went down to 50 enrolled-clients in 2013, but move upward in 2014 and 2015, with 59 and 113 patients, respectively.

Medical center chief Dr. Julius Drilon, in a press conference on July 19 said HIV/Aids has become the new emerging infectious disease in the province and in the whole country.

Drilon said the province, particularly Bacolod City, currently has one of the highest increases nationwide, and belongs to Category A along with the National Capital Region (NCR).

“These alarming numbers of patients are only based on reported cases or those who submitted for testing thus, the figures could still surge,” Drilon said, pointing out that the increasing trend could mean a growing awareness on the government’s campaign against HIV/Aids.

On the other hand, it could also be a result of continuous malpractices among the public like engaging in unsafe sexual contacts, causing infection transmission, Drilon added.

Based on the 2007 up to present census per city and municipality, Bacolod has the highest number of patients, with 179.

It is followed by Bago City with 15 tested positive clients; Silay City - 12; Kabankalan City - 11; and Valladolid and Cadiz City, nine each.

In terms of mortality, the number of Negrenses dying every year because of infections attributed to HIV/Aids is also increasing.

Records showed that from 2007 to 2012, six died due to the disease. It went up to nine death cases in 2013; 18 in 2014; and 26 in 2015.

For 2016, 18 deaths were already recorded in the first half of the year, it added.

“We continue to urge the public, especially those who are highly susceptible, to undergo testing as earlier as possible to have more chances of treatment and recovery,” Drilon said.

Most of the death cases were among patients suffering from serious infections already before submitting themselves for testing, he added.