CLARK FREEPORT ZONE: A health official noted 20 cases of full-blown human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive recorded in Pampanga for this year alone.
According to Dr. Verona Guevarra, Angeles City Reproductive and Health Wellness head, the record showed a dramatic rise in HIV cases in the province.
Guevarra did not specify how many males or females among the victims nor their area where they were working.
These are newly diagnosed victims, she said.
Guevarra said there were only four cases last year.
She explained that full-blown HIV is just a step to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
To deter the disease to develop quickly is for the victim to undergo CD4 count—a test in the blood if the patient needs to take antiretroviral medicines.
She, however, clarified the rise in the number cases of the dreaded disease stemmed from the increase of victims who chose to have a medical check-up, rigid screening conducted by the agency and intensive campaign.
Guevarra said all the victims are from the entertainment industry.
“We convince them to undergo medical checkup because we promised confidentiality of their identity and help,” Guevarra said.
Some of the patients have gone home to their provinces, some are still working in the area and some went into other sources of livelihood.
As of now, some nongovernment organizations, the government and the Department of Health are extending help to victims.
The help comes in the form of availability of free voluntary HIV counseling and testing service, community assemblies to reduce stigma and building to improve STI and HIV services (HIV proficiency training), among others.
Froilan E. Magtoto