Both the government and non-government organizations are now working together to step up an information campaign on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country.
In “Talakayan sa Limketkai” held in Cagayan de Oro city on Oct. 18, Ian Jose Baang of the Infectious Diseases Cluster, Department of Health (DOH)-Northern Mindanao disclosed that as of June 2016, there were 841 reported HIV/AIDS cases in the country and two percent of these came from the region.
Baang also said the National Capital Region (NCR) had the most number of HIV/AIDS cases, which account for 40 percent.
The DOH statistics also showed that the persons infected with HIV/AIDS are mostly male and the age group with the highest number of cases is between 15 and 24 years old.
The modes of transmission of this disease are sexual contact, needle sharing among injecting drug users and mother-to-child transmission through infected mother’s milk.
“HIV can be transmitted from an infected person through blood, seminal fluid, vaginal secretion and mother’s milk,” a health worker explained.
Unlike other infectious diseases, HIV cannot be transmitted by holding, hugging or sharing food with the person living with HIV (PLHIV), as the virus dies in two seconds when exposed to the air.
Moreover, Fritzie Estoque, chairperson, Misamis Oriental Cagayan de Oro Aids Network (MOCAN), a group pushing for HIV-related causes, said HIV/AIDS is everybody’s concern. “Every week, nagsaka siya (it is increasing) and Cagayan de Oro is number two in terms of prevalence and incidence,” Estoque pointed out.
“Let us not single out one sector here because anybody can be infected with HIV,” she added.
PLHIVs are given antiretroviral therapy (ART) to suppress HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV diseases. (Franklin P. Gumapon/PIA-10)