Yearend Supplement: Battling HIV-Aids

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File Photo

DESPITE efforts to lower cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/Aids), the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) recorded a total of 297 cases in the city since January.

RHWC head doctor Jordana Ramiterre said in an interview with Sunstar Davao that there were 36 new cases in September alone.

Data from RHWC, which came from the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health, showed that males having sex with males still have the highest number of cases at 161.

This is followed by males having sex with males and females at 91 and males having sex with females (43). Two cases were determined as "unknown". There was no case of mother-to-child transmission as of September 2018.

Since 1984, RHWC said there have been 2,594 HIV-Aids cases in the city.

Meanwhile, as of August 2018, Olympus Society of Davao reported 125 deaths due to HIV-Aids.

Ramiterre said there were some HIV/Aids death-related cases that were not recorded because some patients died in their home.

She added that the reason they are having difficulties in securing the reported death cases of HIV-Aids is that some of the families have not yet reported it due to fear of discrimination.

It is also alarming to note that the Davao City Aids Council (DCAC) reported that the youngest person to contract HIV through sexual transmission is a 13-year-old. Other details were withheld due to confidentiality.

On the bright side, more individuals in the city are now undergoing a Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) screening to know their status. This increase is due to the awareness and information education campaigns of various groups and individuals.

Global Fund Project assistant regional coordinator Patrick Albit said there are 6,070 males and transgenders who availed the free HIV screening in 2018 compared to the 5,000 individuals who availed the same screening.

He added that in the latest record of RHWC, who is doing a separate HIV screening, there are 3,002 individuals of mixed genders who availed of the free HIV screening in 2018.

Global Fund Project caters to transgenders and males having sex with males.

Ramiterre added that there are some of their clients are not from Davao City.

"Although treatment is available but still prevention is still the best thing to do," Ramiterre added.

She said that the infection can be prevented through the correct use of condoms, practicing the safety use of syringes, abstinence, education, and being faithful to a partner.


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