Risky sexual behavior precipitates HIV, cancer

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BAGUIO CITY: Risky sexual behavior makes the person prone to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a known link in acquiring cervical cancer.

In a Department of Health-led media forum with the Philippine Information Agency over the weekend, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (Bghmc) HIV/AIDS Core Team chair Dr. Maria Lorena Santos reported an increasing number of HIV cases in the Bghmc registry.

Since 2006 they have already screened 72 cases that include 16 cases in 2011, 17 cases in 2012 and 16 cases from January to May of this year—12 of the patients have already died.

Santos also disclosed that of the 72 patients, 19 are females and 53 males, mostly homosexuals. The patients are from Regions 1, 2, 3 and the Cordillera, as well as from Metro Manila. The Bghmc registry also showed that the youngest person living with HIV is 19 while the oldest is 56 years old. Santos explained that the common causes of HIV infections are risky sexual behavior, which include having multiple partners and unprotected sex. Aside from transmission through sexual intercourse, she also disclosed that HIV can be acquired through blood transfusion, mother to child transmission and injection drug use.

With May being observed as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, Santos affirmed that risky sexual behavior is also a risk factor of acquiring HPV, a secondary link to having a cervical cancer.

HPV can be transferred by a male to a female through sexual intercourse and a sexually active male partner who engages multiple sexual partners, will not even know that he has the virus, as it is asymptomatic or does not manifest any symptom, Santos explained.

Dr. Diyesibel Balisongen of Bghmc also affirmed that cervical cancer remains the second cancer type among women, next only to breast cancer.

She also reported that they have 28 new cases in 2011, 21 cases in 2012 and nine cases from January to April this year, with patients as young as 26 and the oldest at 59.

For prevention, Balisongen advocates for early detection or vaccination against the HPV, which is free of charge to PhilHealth members.

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