100% hike in HIV cases in Palawan – UNAIDS

Palawan News - - FRONT PAGE -

Cases of hu­man im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency virus (HIV) in Palawan in­creased by 100 per­cent as of Oc­to­ber this year com­pared to the same pe­riod last year, the Joint United Na­tions Pro­gramme on Hu­man Im­mune De­fi­ciency Virus/ Ac­quired Im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency Syn­drome (UNAIDS) re­ported Thurs­day.

Dr. Louie Ocampo, the UNAIDS coun­try di­rec­tor, told Palawan News that the prov­ince has 150 HIV pos­i­tive cases in 2017 that al­most dou­bled to 298 cases as of Oc­to­ber. Ocampo said they ex­pect the fig­ure will sur­pass last year’s to­tal by the end of 2018. “Iyung Palawan kasi, par­tic­u­larly Puerto Princesa, is al­ready Cat­e­gory A in terms of HIV in­ci­dents, ‘yong pag­dami ng mga kaso. Ibig sabi­hin ay du­madami na talaga ‘ yong trend ng kaso ng HIV,” Ocampo said. He pointed out that HIV in­ci­dence is preva­lent among males ag­ing from 15 to 34 who had sex­ual in­ter­course with the same sex and be­came ex­posed to the virus. “Sila ‘yong mga nasa es­kuwe­la­han, ‘ yong mga nag­ta­tra­baho. Kaya gusto natin na hangga’t mas maaga ay mabi­gyan sila ng tamang im­por­masyon patungkol sa HIV preven­tion,” Ocampo pointed out. He said the pub­lic “should prac­tice sex­ual ab­sti­nence and if is not pos­si­ble, en­cour­aged the pub­lic the proper use of con­doms.” A to­tal of 211 out of the 298 HIV pos­i­tive peo­ple are now be­ing treated at the Ospi­tal ng Palawan’s ( ONP) HIV treat­ment fa­cil­ity ma­jor­ity of which are from Puerto Princesa City. “Meron pang 97 na hindi pa nali-link o na­sisim­u­lan ng an­tiretro-vi­ral treat­ment. Meron pa tay­ong maram­ing cases na hinid pa natin na-te-test. Ei­ther hindi sila aware, or aware man sila, ayaw ni­lang magpa-test, natatakot,” he said. Ocampo said that the an­tiretro­vi­ral treat­ment slows down and even pre­vent the growth of the virus, al­low­ing the pa­tient to con­tinue liv­ing his life like a nor­mal per­son, only with drug-main­te­nance as the dif­fer­ence. While there is al­ways an at­tached stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion on be­ing an HIV pos­i­tive pa­tient, Ocampo urged the pub­lic to get tested and take med­i­ca­tion. Pilip­inas Shell Foun­da­tion, Inc. or­ga­nized a two-day Ca­pac­ity Build­ing of Re­gional HIV Co­or­di­na­tors on De­vel­op­ment of Strate­gic and In­vest­ment Plan on HIV and AIDS and the Es­tab­lish­ment of Ser­vice De­liv­ery Net­work Work­shop with the De- part­ment of Health (DOH) on Oc­to­ber 18-19. PSFI se­nior project of­fi­cer for HIV pro­gram Maria Stella Flores said they in­vited the re­gional HIV co­or­di­na­tors of the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion (NCR), Re­gion 4A, Re­gion 4B, Re­gion 6, Re­gion 7, Re­gion 10 and Re­gion 11. The six re­gions are among the top in the coun­try with the high­est num­ber of HIV pos­i­tive cases. “Sila po ay magke-cre­ate ng in­vest­ment plan­ning for HIV pro­gram, so in the com­ing years, the HIV pro­gram will have a bud­get for sus­tain­abil­ity. Kaniya-kaniyang re­hiyon ay magpa-plano. At the same time, magkano ang kailan­gan para maipa­sok natin ito sa at­ing lo­cal plan­ning ng in­vest­ment ng at­ing mga provinces and cities,” Flores said.

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