HIV-AIDS stalks Bicol region


LEGAZPI CITY: The dreaded human immunodeficiency-acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV-AIDS) virus is threatening Bicol region and the province of Albay ranks first in the number of victims of the deadly disease, the Department of Health reported.

Among the six provinces in Bicol, Albay posted 42 HIV cases followed by Camarines Sur with 38, Masbate with nine cases, Sorsogon, eight, Camarines Norte with five and Catanduanes with two cases—a total of 104 across the Bicol region.

The increasing prevalence of HIV-AIDS was recorded from January 1984 to December 2012 according to Krizelle Anne Ronquillio, Department of Health (DOH) Bicol RSW, assistant HIV surveillance officer here

Dr. Alan Lucañas, DOH Bicol, HIV-AIDS prevention and control coordinator said that the increasing number of HIV cases stems from unsafe sex practices.

The deadly virus could be prevented if a person will go with the so-called ABCDEs.

“The ABCDEs or Abstinence, Be faithful, Consistent and correct condom use, Don’t use drugs and alcohol and the right Education are the effective measures to fight the disease,” Lucañas pointed out.

He added that the government is hell-bent to curtail the spread of HIV cases in the region but there is a need to adopt an aggressive advocacy campaign to control the rising number of HIV-AIDS cases here.

Mike de la Rama, provincial action officer of the HIV-AIDS Albay Council told The Manila Times that of the 42 cases in Albay, majority are males with median age of 30.

Citing the DOH report, de la Rama said that out of the 104 cases, eight Bicolanos have been undergoing Antiretroviral treatment here while the rest were enrolled either in Manila or in other regions.

The council also monitored two HIV patients having acquired the disease locally.

Health records showed that previous cases showed that AIDS virus were acquired from heterosexual encounters but recently the disease was traced to “male having sex with male.”

The DOH reported a total of 380 new HIV cases, the highest increase since the government began monitoring HIV/AIDS cases in 1984.


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