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HIV cases increase,
DOH encourages testing

“We are seeing an increase status on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) this year,” says provincial disease surveillance officer Joewil Napuli in a chat.
“This is a sensitive case, there is a law that needs to be followed in dealing with our cases. What we can do is just increase information and urge everyone to know his status, and if positive, subject himself to Antiretroviral (ARV) treatment,” Napuli further said.
According to Napuli the increased status was due to a decrease of stigma and increase number of individuals who submit themselves for HIV testing, strengthened surveillance and reporting. There was also increased and easy access to HIV testing in health facilities and communities.
In the Regional Epidemiology & Surveillance Unit Eastern Visayas data forwarded by Napuli, Southern Leyte has 26 cases of HIV from January to December, year 2022.
Maasin City had the highest cases with 10; 2 each from Libagon, Macrohon, Malitbog and Liloan; 1 each for Anahawan, Bontoc, Hinundayan, Limasawa, Padre Burgos, Pintuyan, Saint Bernard, and Tomas Oppus town. Male group has the most cases with 23, while 3 from Female group, three of them are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).
The most infected cases by age group were between 26-34, followed by 15-24 and 35-49 years old, with mostly in male to male, female to female and male to female mode of transmission.
As of December 2022, there are 76 people living with HIV under Antiretroviral Therapy.
“The only way to find out if you have HIV is to get tested, an important step toward receiving treatment and preventing the disease from spreading,” says Maasin City Mayor Nacional Mercado in a post.
City Health Unit thru Dr. Francilisa Tan – CHO II strictly implements Republic Act (RA) 8504, also known as the “Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998,” that ensures the country’s response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic, as well as the confidentiality of all relevant data and the patients’ identities.
HIV is an infection that attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the white blood cells called CD4 cells, this help fight infections also in destroying viruses, bacteria, and other germs. HIV destroys these white cells; resulting to weakened personal immunity against opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis and fungal infections, severe bacterial infections and some cancers.
HIV can be transmitted through kissing, food or water, blood, breast milk, semen, vaginal secretions, or in ordinary day life contact by shaking hands, sharing personal objects and also from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy and delivery.
Antiretroviral medicines or ARV can stop the virus replicating in the body, the immune system can allow repairing itself and can prevent damage.
It can also be prevented by: getting regularly tested for HIV if sexually active, taking PrEP or PEP (tablets which prevents HIV either before or just after being exposed), by using condoms, never sharing needles and by taking medication if you are already infected.
Free HIV testing is available at City Health Unit I, II, and III, every Monday-Friday (9am-4pm) by appointment. For more information, you may contact their hotline at 0951-910-5518. (RCabodbod)

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