HIV-AIDS claims 73 lives, 452 in advanced stages



By Rose de la Cruz



The menace of HIV-AIDS has claimed 73 lives and 452 sufferers are in advanced stages of the disease, with great chances of not making it.


This is according to the Department of Health records, which Reps. Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Bagong Henerasyon) Ron Salo (Kabayan) partylists added is aggravated by the sharing of needles that is prevalent among illegal drug users in Central Visayas (where 49 drug injection users tested positive for HIV).


Salo said sharing of needles has emerged as a new high-risk behavior in the faster spread of HIV-AIDS among Filipinos, particularly in Central Visayas, the latest available (March 2018) Department of Health data show.


Since last January, there were 49 injecting drugs users who got infected with HIV. Counting from January 2013 to March 2018, sharing of needles gave 1,580 people HIV.


The DOH said “almost all (99 percent) reported with injecting drug use were from Region 7.”


With these information, it is now imperative and urgent for LGU officials in Central Visayas to team up with the DOH to stem rising tide of HIV spread via sharing of needles.


As a member of the committee on health of the House, he called on the LGUs and DoH to make this a new priority.


The menace of illegal drugs has surely interfaced with the HIV-AIDS epidemic. These two epidemics are now twins in the Central Visayas.


The good news in the latest HIV-AIDS data is the integrity of our nation’s blood supply and the enforcement of safety measures in our medical facilities. DOH reported zero HIV cases from blood/blood products and from needle stick injury.


He urged registered nurses and licensed health professionals to continue with the safety practices to keep themselves from getting infected with HIV accidentally through needle stick injury.


DoH tasked to explain the late discovery of advanced cases


Herrera-Dy, who chairs the committee on women and gender equality, said the spread of HIV-AIDS is among her top concerns because of its impact on women and the LGBT community.


National government, civic society, and LGUs clearly must do much better at informing Filipinos of the availability of HIV-AIDS testing nationwide because 452 found to be in the advanced stages of the disease from January to March this year is too much. That’s 452 families and more extended families and friends affected.


This year, 73 have died of HIV-AIDS, she said.


Late discovery of HIV-AIDS infection may be due to the stigma attached to the illness, but had the infection been found early, the lives of those infected could be lengthened by years because of the advances in treatment technologies.


DOH and LGUs must spread down to the barangays and workplaces their information on access, availability, and affordability of HIV-AIDS testing and treatments. A national media campaign must be undertaken and it must be aggressive.


Late discovery or reporting might also be due to treatment or confinement for the symptoms of HIV-AIDS. On this, we need better cooperation from doctors and hospitals because if the patients or their doctors do not disclose or put on record the real illness, more people could be at risk when HIV-AIDS safety protocols are not followed.


Public health and safety have to be weighed alongside the right to privacy of the patients. Under-reporting can be dangerous. DOH must make sure this is not happening in any of the hospitals or clinics nationwide.


HIV-AIDS profile


From January 1984 to March 2018, male sex with male (MSM) was the most predominant (84 percent, or 41,710 cases) mode of transmission; followed by male-female sex (11 percent, or 5,665) and sharing of infect6ed needles (4 percent, or 1,904 cases).


More than half (53 percent, or 22m101) of MSM involved those 25 to 34 years old at the time of testing and 30 percent were 15-24 years old. Among diagnosed females, male-female sex was the most common mode of transmission, (92 percent or 3,169) followed by sharing of infected needles (3 percent or 116).


A total of 138 children (less than 10 years old), eight adolescents (10-19 years old ) and one adult foreigner (22 years old) were reported to have acquired HIV through mother to child transmission.


From 1984 to 2006, the predominant mode of transmission was male-female sex but this shifted in 2007 to MSM and has remained up to the present. From January 2013 to March 2018, 83 percent  (34,301) out of total (41,575) newly-diagnosed cases were among MSM. 







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Thursday, 24 January 2019
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