BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) recorded eighteen new human immune virus (HIV) cases in the region for the first two months of the year, saying that the number of HIV cases being reported is now alarming, especially among those men having sex with men (MSM).
Cherrie E. Caluza, STI/HIV-AIDS prevention and control program coordinator of the DOH-CAR communicable disease cluster, said of the newly recorded HIV cases, 11 are from Baguio, 4 come from Benguet and 1 each from Abra, Ifugao, and Kalinga.
She added 8 of the new HIV cases are homosexuals while 10 are bisexuals and all of them are reportedly MSM.
Last year, the DOH-CAR reported 69 new HIV cases were recorded in different parts of the region and most of them were reportedly involved in MSM activities.
She pointed out HIV cases are also increasing at the national level, from 26 cases daily to 28 cases daily for the first 2 months of this year.
Caluza claimed the increasing number of HIV reported cases is brought about by the fact that the health department is now offering free HIV tests, especially in provincial hospitals and rural health units, to initiate awareness among the people on the need for early HIV testing to detect the dreaded illness.
According to her, the health department continues to conduct free HIV tests in the different provincial hospitals and rural health units nationwide to ensure that people infected with the said illness are provided with the necessary medical attention to prevent them from infecting innocent individuals.
On her part, Dra. Celia Flor Brillantes, medical officer and STI-HIV-AIDS, leprosy coordinator of the City Health Services office, said the local government has intensified its anti-HIV campaign by involving the peers of the HIV patients in their counselling efforts to address the potential increase in the number of cases due to alleged unprotected sex among the infected and uninfected individuals.
Brillantes said health workers have focused their attention to the MSMs because of the sudden surge in the MSMs infected with HIV considering the commercial sex activities in the different parts of the city.
She assured health workers continue to closely monitor the activities of those detected to have contracted HIV to prevent them from infecting other innocent individuals.
Brillantes claimed the intensified campaign of the health department to detect HIV cases among commercial sex workers and freelance individuals continues vigorously in various forms to prevent the occurrence of an epidemic of the illness.
She appealed to high-risk individuals to regularly visit the nearest health facility for them to seek medical advice.
By Dexter A. See http://baguioheraldexpressonline.com