LINGAYEN,Pangasinan: The Department of Health confirmed that Pangasinan has recorded the highest number of persons infected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus -Acquired Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) in the entire Region I.
As this developed, Governor Amado Pogi I. Espino,3rd issued an order directing the local government unit to organize Local Aids Councils in their respective towns and cities to raise awareness and educate individuals to fight HIV-AIDS.
Espino’s order came out after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan enacted a resolution urging the municipal and city mayors of 48 towsn and cities to allocate funds to fight and control the HIV-AIDS problem semilar to the illegal drugs campaign.
Board Members Raul Sison and Jeremy Agerico B. Rosario author of the resolution, said, “The increasing number of HIV-AIDS cases in the province is already alarming saying the local chief exectuives should include this in their agenda and undertake preventive measures.
In Region 1, there are a total of 696 HIV-AIDS cases from 1984 to 2016. Of this total, Pangasinan has the highest number with 341 full blown AIDS sufferers, La Union with 130 cases, Ilocos Sur 89 and Ilocos Norte with 50 cases.
Eight of the top ten municipalities with high number of HIV-AIDS cases are in Pangasinan: (1) San Fernando City, (2) Dagupan City, (3) Urdaneta City, (4) San Carlos City, (5) Bauang, Laoag, (6) Lingayen, (7) Villasis, (8) San Juan, (9) San Fabian, Bayambang, Binmaley, (10) Vigan.
Rosario, a veteran phsycian said there could be more affected but are not yet reported because they are ashamed to come out.
He said the provincial board’s Committee on Health will conduct hearings to formulate legislation to address the problem on HIV/AIDS in Pangasinan.
DOH data reveals that 46 percent of the positive cases were acquired through homosexual contact, 31 percent through bisexual contact, 22 percent through heterosexual contact; other transmission modes are through pregnancy from mother to child, blood transfusion and sharing of needles in injecting drugs.
The DOH report added that 60 percent of those found positive for HIV-AIDS are 15 to 25 years old.
Dr. Ceilo Almoite, provincial health officer 1, said they only have the figures of the HIV-AIDS cases. The identities of the infected individuals remains confidential.
Data from the DOH HIV/AIDS situation in the Philippines in the prevention and control update shows that the Philippines is one of the top three countries with increasing number of HIV cases with 34, 999 reported cases from January 1984 to June 2016, with 26 new cases reported every day.
Almoite said the 300 plus full-blown cases in Pangasinan are being treated with anti-retroviral drug given for free at DOH’s treatments hubs but they are not confined although their activities are closely monitored.
Ma. Cristina, one of the alleged victims of HIV-AIDS told The Manila TImes that she was diagnosed by an internal medicine physician in Region I Medical Center in October and she was recommended to be treated in a hospital in Manila but decided to go home due to lack of money to pay for the rent of her boarding house, and other expenses.
Ma. Cristina is a former 2nd year nursing student in a private college in Dagupan City where she is also working in a videoke bar to support her studies.
She is a native of Cagayan de Oro City and she has been staying with her cousin, a prostitute, in Pangasinan for more than six years now.
Ma. Cristina admitted to this writer that she got her HIV-AIDS from her costumers when she has sex with them at least three times in one night.
She also suspects that her boyfriend, a policemen in active duty, could be the one who transferred the HIV-AIDS virus to her because he is a womanizer and he is the only last person to have sex with her when she started to feel the said illness.
Ma. Cristina refused to go home to her home province when she was offered a free plane ticket and extra budget by a businessman friend of this writer. eanwhile, Sison opposed the planned distribution of condoms to schools as a means to prevent the spread of HIV-AIDS.
“It will give the wrong impression to students that it’s okay to have pre-marital sex with anyone as long as you use acondom,” he added.