ORMOC CITY – The City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) has an increased recorded number of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases. This provoked the local government to boost the monitoring of infected persons.
The Disease Surveillance Officer, Elsie Jaca has noted that the local trend follows the national average of 30 cases per day this 2017 compared to 26 HIV cases average per day last year.
Jaca said that from January to July this year, there were 7,000 individuals who underwent voluntary HIV testing in Eastern Visayas, more than 2500 comes from Ormoc.
Half of the 14 new HIV reactive cases in the region are coming from Ormoc City, aged 15-34.
Statistics show that in Region 8, from 1984 up to date, there have been a total of 335 HIV cases and 48 cases of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Currently, there is one case of AIDS in Ormoc City.
She stressed that there could be more, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) coming from the city is not yet included in the count.
She also said that monitoring the disease stays a “tough challenge” because of the disgrace that causes fear and depression among people who has acquired the disease. This hinders them from having HIV test.
She added that people identified to be “positive” cannot be forced to have treatment because forcing them is a violation of their rights and is punishable by law.
According to CESU, the modes of transmission include “unprotected” male to male and male to female sex, sharing of infected needles in intravenous drug injections, and mother to child transmission.
Ma. Lourdes Lampong of the City Health Office:
“There is always hope for HIV [patients]. . . you can still live longer as long as you cooperate in the treatment.”
She said that this is what they are always saying during counseling sessions to avoid depression of the subject.
Lampong also said that in their campaign to fight HIV/AIDS, they are connecting with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community to become peer counselors to educate their fellow.
As of to date, the city health office has free HIV test kits and they are also encouraging suspected individuals to seek early testing and counseling in their office.