AIDS rise alarm QC officials

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Quezon City officials on Monday called on residents engaged in unprotected sex to regularly see a doctor as they expressed alarm over reports that the city has the highest number of HIV and AIDS cases in Metro Manila.|

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The Philippines is the second country to have the highest new AIDS cases in Asia. Worldwide, the Philippines was ranked ninth in AIDS frequency, an indication that instead of abating, the spread of the dreaded disease worsened, with health authorities blaming male-to-male sex as the principal cause of infection.

The Department of Health (DOH) has admitted that there has been a steep rise in HIV cases since 2006. Noel Palaypayon, deputy unit manager of the National HIV/AIDS/STI Surveillance and Strategic Information Unit, described the spread of the virus as “fast and furious.”

Quezon City Majority Floor Leader Jesus Manuel Suntay admitted that the situation is very alarming.

Suntay recently met with councilors Eufemio Lagumbay, Victor Ferrer Jr., Jaime Bores and Alan Benedict Reyes to discuss ways on how to curb the spread of the disease. Suntay appealed to the public, especially those engaged in unprotected sex, to have regular medical tests.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat has called on the government to allot P1.2 billion for the HIV/AIDS prevention program.

“If we do not invest now, we are looking at a very dire situation in 2020 when we will need at least P4 billion a year for treatment alone,” Baguilat said.

Aside from improving the government’s health facilities and hiring of more health workers and increasing their pay, Baguilat said HIV/AIDS prevention should be one of the country’s top priorities.

Among the factors behind the rapid increase in HIV/AIDS cases are lack of adequate knowledge on how the virus is acquired and the low use of condoms.

Earlier, the Quezon City government and the Department of Health, in cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) creating a massive communication line urging residents, to undergo HIV tests.

In a recent report, the DOH said 77 percent of new HIV/AIDS cases in the country were in Metro Manila. Most of the cases were in Quezon City.

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