By Rhaydz B. Barcia
LEGAZPI CITY ---Three died due to Human Immunodeficiency/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) within a two-month period early this year, according to a belated report by the regional office of the Department of Health in Bicol.
Dr. Jannish Arellano, head of infectious disease cluster in DOH-Bicol, said the three cases of deaths were recorded from January to February this year when 42 new cases of HIV/AIDS were also reported.
It was not reported from what province or city these fatalities came from.
“The high cases of HIV/AIDS were reported among males, specifically among men-having-sex with men or MSM,” she said in a press briefing held at DOH-Bicol’s office here on Friday last week.
Among the 42 new cases throughout the region, Albay has the most number with 14, Sorsogon-12, Camarines Sur-10, Masbate-4, and Camarines Norte-2. None was reported in Catanduanes.
Arellano said the cases showed HIV/AIDS was mostly affecting persons 15 to 49 years old and above.
“But the data highlighted also that HIV/AIDS is also affecting the 15-year-old,” she said.
In 2016, Arellano said, there were 122 HIV-AIDS cases reported across the region. Camarines Sur recorded 54 cases, Albay-31, Sorsogon -12, Masbate-12, Camarines Norte-8, and Catanduanes-5.
From 1984 to the present, a total of 540 cases were recorded in the region. Of these, 109 were infected with AIDS virus while 431 were “asymptomatic,” which means that the virus is present in the body but there is no symptom of any infection.
Arellano said from 1984 to the present, the HIV/AIDS virus has caused the death of 57 persons in Bicol.
Arellano called on the people to become responsible partners and observe healthy sexual behavior.
She added DOH-Bicol is also conducting a massive information campaign among the youth, specifically among high school students to educate them about the HIV/AIDS virus.