DOH Eastern Visayas sees number of HIV/AIDS cases to double this year

September 22, 2015 8:06 am 

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

TACLOBAN CITY, Sept. 21 (PNA) –- The Department of Health (DOH) in Eastern Visayas expects that the number of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) cases will double this year as more victims seek medical assistance.

DOH regional epidemiology and surveillance unit head Roderick Boyd Cerro reported that as of July 2015, there were already 56 HIV/AIDS cases in the region, nearly surpassing the 58 cases for the entire 2014.

The sexually-transmitted infection has already killed five persons in the region this year.

“We anticipate that figures will double this year as people continue to practice risky behavior, especially men having sex with men,” Cerro said.

Out of 56 cases recorded within the first seven months, 52 of them got the dreaded disease through male-to-male sexual contact.

“The risk is high because the way they do sexual contact is not designed for regular sexual activity. Normally, there is a laceration during the intercourse,” Cerro added.

Rising number of cases in the region, according to the DOH official is alarming, although the figure only accounts one percent of the total number of infected persons nationwide.

“We are fortunate that we are not included in the top 10 regions, because there’s no injection drug use-related HIV infection here,” he told PNA.

Higher cases this year can be attributed to the DOH’s intensified campaign, calling on those vulnerable to seek medical attention.

“More people seek medical help as they start to suffer HIV/AIDS sign and symptoms.”

The DOH has been providing testing kits to hospitals in the region, capacitate health workers to conduct testing and train more staff to provide counseling to victims.

The counseling component is vital to fight against stigma and discriminations, according to DOH.

The government’s major strategies against HIV/AID include the availability of free voluntary HIV counseling and testing services; 100 percent condom use, especially for entertainment establishments; peer education and outreach; multi-sectoral coordination; community empowerment; community assemblies to reduce stigma; augmentation of resources of social hygiene; and male condoms distributed as education materials during outreach. (PNA)

LAP/SQM

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