LEGAZPI CITY: The Department of Health (DOH) Bicol reported that cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) increased in the region in the past two years with three deaths reported early this year.
The most number of HIV-AIDS cases were reported among males, specifically among men-having-sex with men (MSM), Jannish Arellano, DOH head of infectious disease, said in a media briefing here.
The DOH also expressed alarm over the increasing cases of bisexuals and gays infected with HIV and sexually-transmitted infections across the region.
In a span of two months, from January to February, three deaths were reported and there are now 42 new cases throughout the region.
Topping the list with high cases is Albay province with 14; Sorsogon – 12; Camarines Sur – 10; Masbate – four and Camarines Norte with two. No cases were reported in Catanduanes.
The most alarming data showed that people as young as 15 years old have been found with HIV-AIDS and the most number of cases were found among those aged 15 to 49.
In 2016, 123 cases were reported across the region with Camarines Sur having the highest prevalence of the virus with 54 cases; Albay – 31; Sorsogon – 12; Masbate – 12; Camarines Norte – eight; and Catanduanes – five.
From 1984 to the present, a total of 540 cases were recorded with 109 already have AIDS while 431 were “asymptomatic,” the DOH data showed. Of this, Camarines Sur has 202; Albay – 160; Sorsogon – 74; Masbate – 48; Camarines Norte – 37; and Catanduanes – 18.
Out of these, 490 were male and 50 female, and already 57 persons have died.
The HIV virus attacks the body’s immune system, ultimately causing AIDS which is a condition characterized by a combination of signs and symptoms caused by HIV. It makes the afflicted individual highly susceptible to other life threatening infections.
Asymptomatic means the HIV virus is present in the body but no symptom of any infection.
To curb the spread of HIV-AIDS in the region affecting mostly the young and working force, Arellano urged people to be responsible partners and observe healthy lifestyle as the DOH continue to conduct information campaign among the youth, specifically high school students.