January 29, 2023

Juan Kabayan

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Rise of HIV cases in Negros ‘alarming’

NEGROS Occidental recorded a total of 172 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases from January to September this year, data from the Provincial Health Office (PHO) showed.

Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, provincial health officer, described the figures as “alarming.”

Data also showed that Bacolod City logged 101 HIV cases during the same period.

Tumimbang said that their awareness campaign against HIV could have led to the increasing number of reported cases, after affected individuals submitted themselves for testing.

PHO records also showed that 115 cases were transmitted through males having sex with males.

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The report added that 50 percent of HIV cases are in the age group between 24 to 35 years old.

Since 1986 to September this year, the PHO records showed that Negros Occidental had 1,176 cases, ranking the province third in terms of having the most umber of cases in the region, trailing behind Iloilo province at 1,410 and 1,211 in Iloilo City.

Bacolod City, on the other hand, has 924 HIV cases.

Arnulfo Makilan, Banaag LGBT Inc. executive director and an HIV and AIDS advocate in Bacolod City, however, noted those who tested positive were later nowhere to be found.

Josephine Nonato, Provincial HIV Coordinator, said their report showed that 150 of the 172 HIV cases were transmitted through sexual intercourse.

Nonato also reported that aside from the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City, the provincial government of Negros Occidental has two other HIV treatment centers: Cadiz District Hospital and Lorenzo D. Zayco District Hospital in Kabankalan City.

The PHO has also 12 social hygiene clinics in 12 component cities of the province, with Local AIDS Council for activation in Victorias and Silay City Health Offices as well as in Pulupandan, aside from the Escalante City Health Office and Murcia Municipal Health Office that have already been activated.

HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system.

If it is not treated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), which is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition.

Tumimbang on Thursday led the year-end press conference on emerging and reemerging diseases at the Negros Residences in Bacolod City, with the topics focused on rabies, HIV and cholera.