CITY Of SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga: The Department of Health (DOH) has noted a 25- percent increase of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) cases in Central Luzon this year.
The Regional Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (Resu) also reported that there were five AIDS-related death in the region.
DOH Central Luzon Regional Epidemiologist Jessie Fantone said 61 cases were reported for the first six months of 2015 while there were only 49 cases in the same period last year.
He noted that there is an increase in the number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are infected with AIDS.
Fantone also pointed out that the increase can also be attributed to the people’s risky sexual behavior as they opt not to use protection such as condoms.
The epidemiologist added that in Bulacan there is one full-blown AIDS case and 27 asymptomatic cases or patients who do not exhibit symptoms of the disease. In Pampanga, the health agency recorded one full-blown AIDS case and 17 asymptomatic cases.
The provinces of Tarlac and Nueva Ecija each have five asymptomatic cases while Zambales has four and Bataan has one.
According to the Center for Disease Control, HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS.
The virus can be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse and sharing of drug injection equipment with people infected with HIV, among others.
The health agency also encourages the public to have themselves tested for and undergo counseling in any of the 91 testing centers throughout the region.
Fantone also emphasized that, “The stigma of testing is there in the communities and in all settings and that is the reason why we need to put a little strategy on our regular advocacy and involve different sectors including community-based organizations. There is also a need to identify (and train) peer educators.” The tests and counseling sessions are confidential.