About 100 HIV positive cases recorded in Palawan province by the Department of Health (DOH)-MIMAROPA are now enrolled and already undergoing treatment and management at the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP)-Red Top Center.
The HIV positive cases were recorded since the establishment of the center from May 11, 2015 to the present.
DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Eduardo Janairo said 50 percent of the cases were from 25-40 years age group; 40 percent from 15-24 years old; and 10 percent from 41 years old and above.
“These patients are all enrolled and already undergoing treatment and management at the center. The rise in the number of cases does not necessarily mean that HIV in the province is increasing, but it is due to the growing number of people, who are now aware of the disease and voluntarily visiting HIV clinics to be tested for them to know their HIV status,” Dr. Janairo stated.
The regional office, together with the ONP, Provincial Health Office (PHO) and municipal health offices (MHOs) are continuously monitoring the development of the HIV situation in every province in order to avert the spread of the virus.
“Health information drive and other HIV awareness activities are ongoing in various communities, even in far-flung areas. HIV is everyone’s business and everybody must be properly educated about the virus,” he added.
According to the ONP-Red Top Center, from January 1-April 30, 2017, they have recorded 24 new cases, including one pregnant woman, and six of them are asymptomatic.
“These new cases were already given anti-retro viral (ARV) drugs to prevent the spread of the virus inside the body,” Janairo assured.
The ONP-Red Top Center is the first HIV/AIDS testing center in the region where everyone who wishes to take a voluntary HIV test can freely visit anytime 24/7. It provides HIV prevention and treatment services to HIV patients including pre- and post-test counseling.
DOH-MIMAROPA now has two HIV/AIDS Satellite Treatment Centers. One is located at the Occidental Mindoro Provincial Hospital in Mamburao while the ONP-Red Top HIV/AIDS Treatment Center is in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
According also to the March 2017 HARP (HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines) report, there is now a total of 968 newly diagnosed cases. It is 32 percent higher compared to the same period last year with 735 cases. It is also the highest number of cases recorded since 1984.
MIMAROPA now ranked 9th among the leading provinces with HIV cases with 3 percent. There is a 2 percent increase in cases since February 2017.
Metro Manila or NCR is leading with 309 cases (32 percent), followed by CALABARZON with 135 (14 percent); Central Luzon with 107 (11 percent); Central Visayas with 76 cases (8 percent); and Davao region with 52 cases (5 percent). The remaining 289 cases are from the rest of the country.
“HIV still has no cure. No vaccine to prevent the spread of the virus. The only protection is through proper education about HIV and practicing safe sex. It is best to submit yourself for an HIV test to know your HIV status. Testing is free and confidential in all DOH-accredited clinics nationwide,” Janairo concluded. (PNA)