TACLOBAN CITY, Feb. 15 (PNA) — The menace of HIV/AIDS continues to haunt Eastern Visayas region with 94 fresh cases in 2016, the highest recorded in a single year since the Department of Health (DOH) monitored the spread of this sexually transmitted infections.
New cases last year accounted for 24.60 percent of the total 382 cases reported from 1989 until 2016.
“This is horrendously high and alarming. This is not a joke and therefore, should be taken seriously,” said Ma. Elena Joy Villarosa, DOH regional information officer.
Leyte province has the most number of HIV/AID cases with 114, followed by Southern Leyte (31), Samar (25), Northern Samar (21), Biliran (19), and Eastern Samar (18).
At least, 56 percent of victims are within the age bracket of 25 to 34 years old.
Majority or 88 percent of the cases are male and only 12 percent are female. At least 31 percent of cases are considered as fatal, according to Villarosa.
However, the department has also seen the brighter side of this increase of reported cases.
“Despite this, we also see it in a positive way. At least, now, the people are not anymore taking this issue for granted, and are not anymore afraid of having themselves tested,” Villarosa added.
She also emphasized that different social media platforms are really a big help in spreading the right information to the public.
“The youth, the millenials are too attached with the different social media nowadays and we are taking advantage of that,” she added.
The health department has been conducting intensified advocacy campaigns on sex education and addressing sexual risks such as male-to-male sexual contact and pre-marital sex.
As the main role player, the local government units have been extending support to this campaign, enforcing ordinances through the local AIDS council. Local officials also set up reproductive health clinics for the key affected populations where condoms are readily available to everyone.
Parents are also expected and encouraged to show moral responsibility in taking proper actions and maintaining an honest parent-child relationship.
“This should serve as wake up call not only to us, but also to the public,” Villarosa added.
Eastern Visayas ranks number 8 with the highest AIDS tally nationwide, contributing two percent of the total 38,872 cases in the country.
AIDS or Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome is a chronic and potentially life-threatening condition caused by the HIV or the human immuno deficiency virus. (PNA)
LAP/SQM/GERICO A. SABALZA