Mandaue logs 513 new HIV cases, 5 deaths

Mandaue logs 513 new HIV cases, 5 deaths
SunStar Mandaue City

THE Mandaue City Health Office (CHO) logged 513 new cases of people living with human immunodeficiency virus (PLHIV) from Jan. 1 to June 4 this year, with five deaths.

This number is a stark contrast to the 143 cases recorded on Jan. 1-June 30, 2023.

In the first half of 2023, the CHO recorded only three deaths. The health office logged a total of seven deaths for the entirety of 2023.

Since 2016, when Mandaue City began tracking HIV cases, the cumulative total has reached 1,008.

From 2016 to present, Mandaue City has recorded 44 HIV-related deaths, primarily due to patients seeking treatment too late.

CHO head Debra Maria Catulong revealed these numbers to SunStar Cebu in an interview on Thursday, June 27.

Residents

Catulong said the majority of the cases for this year (70 percent) are composed of Mandaue residents, while 30 percent come from other parts of Cebu, seeking treatment in Mandaue for anonymity.

Most PLHIV are in the 15-30 age group, with many being out-of-school individuals.

However, 15 percent are college students or working professionals who have resumed normal life.

Catulong refrained from disclosing specific barangays with high case numbers due to confidentiality concerns.

The CHO head said the PLHIVs receive free antiretroviral treatment at the Primary HIV Care Clinic, provided by the Department of Health.

While there is no cure for HIV, Catulong said antiretroviral therapy can significantly slow the virus’ progression. With regular therapy, the virus can be reduced to undetectable levels, making it non-transmissible.

Seminars

The CHO conducts annual seminars, consultations and screenings in each of the city’s 27 barangays to educate the public and promote regular health checks. Catulong urged the public to maintain their health and avoid

risky behaviors.

“We need to get checked and tested if we engage in risky behavior to prevent an increase in deaths. Get yourself tested. The medication is free,” Catulong said in Cebuano.

Catulong clarified that HIV is not a “gay disease” and emphasized the need for inclusive health systems free from discrimination based on sexual orientation, identity, or behavior.

HIV weakens the immune system and can progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or Aids. Transmission occurs through infected blood, sexual contact with casual or multiple partners, needle sharing among drug users, or accidental pricks among health professionals. / CAV

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