HIV/AIDS in Central Visayas: Finding testing centers, debunking myths, promoting awareness

HIV/AIDS in Central Visayas: Finding testing centers, debunking myths, promoting awareness

In Central Visayas, the number of confirmed HIV cases has been on the rise, highlighting the urgent need for awareness and education about HIV/AIDS. According to data from the Department of Health Central Visayas CHD Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, there were 878 cases in 2021, which increased to 1,007 cases in 2022. The first eight months of 2023 alone recorded close to 1,000 new HIV cases, emphasizing the concerning trend.

HIV (human immuno-deficiency virus) is a virus that compromises the immune system, leading to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), the advanced stage of HIV infection characterized by significant immune system deterioration.

Since 1984, over 10,000 individuals in Central Visayas have been infected, with 531 mortalities. Cebu, the largest province in the region, has been particularly affected, contributing significantly to HIV-related deaths. The data revealed that eight out of ten people diagnosed with HIV were males, and the common modes of transmission included male-to-male sex, unsafe injection practices, and sex with both male and female partners. Persons who inject drugs account for around 21 percent of the total number of individuals diagnosed with HIV in Central Visayas.

Debunking myths about

HIV/AIDS

Myth: HIV/AIDS only affects certain groups.

Fact: HIV/AIDS can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or race. Everyone needs to understand their risk and take preventive measures.

Myth: You can get HIV from casual contact.

Fact: HIV is not transmitted through casual contact like shaking hands, hugging or sharing food. It is transmitted through specific bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk.

Myth: HIV/AIDS is a death sentence.

Fact: With proper treatment and care, people living with HIV/AIDS can lead long and healthy lives. Antiretroviral therapy can effectively suppress the virus and reduce the risk of transmission.

Myth: You can tell if someone has HIV/AIDS by their appearance.

Fact: HIV/AIDS does not have a specific “look.” People living with HIV/AIDS may appear healthy and show no visible symptoms for years. The only way to know for sure is to get tested.

Myth: You can’t have a normal relationship with someone who has HIV/AIDS.

Fact: People living with HIV/AIDS can have healthy relationships, including sexual relationships, by taking precautions to prevent transmission. Open communication and mutual respect are key.

Promoting awareness, education

In light of these statistics, it is crucial to promote awareness and education about HIV/AIDS in Central Visayas. This is especially important during Pride Month, as the LGBTQ+ community is disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.

It is essential to encourage regular testing for HIV and promote access to healthcare services, including HIV treatment and prevention options such as pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis. Additionally, education about safe sex practices, harm reduction for persons who inject drugs and destigmatization of HIV/AIDS are vital components of comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention efforts.

Here is a list of HIV testing centers in Cebu:

Non-governmental organization

* Asilo De La Milagrosa (Gorordo Ave., Cebu City)

* LoveYourself Cebu (LoveYourself White House Capitol, Cebu City)

Government

* Cebu City Medical Center Address (N. Bacalso Avenue, Cebu City)

* Cebu City Social Hygiene Clinic Address (Gen. Maxilom Ave. Extension, Cebu City)

* Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital (Upper Jagobiao Rd, Mandaue City, Cebu)

* Lapu-Lapu City District Hospital (Looc-Basak Rd., Lapu-Lapu City)

* Lapu-Lapu City Social Hygiene Clinic (Pajo, Lapu-Lapu City, Inside City Health Office, near City Hall)

* Mandaue City District Hospital (Mandaue City, Cebu)

* Mandaue City Social Hygiene Clinic (Barangay Centro, Mandaue City, Inside the City Health Office)

* Talisay District Hospital (San Isidro, Talisay City, Cebu)

* Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (B. Rodriguez St., Cebu City)

Private

* Hi-Precision Diagnostics (Cebu, Liloan, Mactan, Mandaue branches)

* Link2Care Diagnostics (F. Ramos St., Cebu City)

* MyHealth Clinic (3rd Level Robinsons Cybergate Mall, Fuente Osmeña, * Don Gil Garcia St., Cebu City)

* Visayas Community Medical Center (Osmeña Blvd, Cebu City)

* These centers offer testing services to help individuals know their HIV status and provide support and treatment for those affected.

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