DOH Warns of New Stronger HIV Strain

The Department of Health has warned the public about the newly-discovered stronger strain of human immunodeficiency virus or HIV.

The strain, which was called CRF-19, was discovered in Cuba. But Dr. Gerard Belimac of the DOH said that there was a possibility that the new form of virus could reach the Philippines.

“Meron ka rin namang function ng migration ng mga taong infected ng HIV. Hindi natin alam ‘yung Cuba, magiging open country din siya eventually,” he said in a report on “24 Oras” on Thursday.

DOH said that it takes seven years for an HIV-positive person to develop acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS. If contracted with the new HIV strain, one can develop AIDS in just three years.

The strain was discovered by a professor in Leuven University in Belgium and researchers from Cuba.

Those who just recently acquired HIV had a different strain, the researchers said.

“‘Yun talaga ang physical attribute or characterictic ng HIV. Almost everyday nagbabago po siya ng itsura. Nagbabago po siya ng itsura kaya hindi nakakapag-develop ng bakuna laban sa kanya,” Belimac explained.

Be faithful

With the new discovery of HIV, DOH reminded the public to be faithful to one partner, use protection during sexual intercourse, and to make sure to use clean syringe for injections to prevent contracting the virus.

HIV patient Lito said he had been HIV-positive for 16 years but the anti-retroviral or ARV drugs were allowing him to live a normal life.

“As long as you are taking ARV religiously morning, afternoon—lifetime ito ah—you will die at old age,” he said.

The drugs are supplied by DOH to 8,000 HIV positive patients for free.



Last year, the DOH noted that there are at least 6,000 new cases of HIV in the Philippines; 543 of these led to AIDS and 188 of them died.

Since 1984, there are more than 22,000 HIV cases in the country, 1,118 died. But the Health department thinks that there are around 12,000 Filipinos who may be HIV but not part of their statistics.

The youngest of them may be 15 years of age, mostly victims of abuse, the DOH said.

(Source: NB, GMA News)

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