DOH: 152 Bicolanos HIV/AIDS infected
By Mar S. Arguelles
LEGAZPI CITY --- Some 152 Bicolanos are infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) during the past three quarters of this year, the Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol said on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
The DOH Epidemiology Bureau recorded 152 cases for the period January to September 2020, which is 77 or 33 percent lower compared to the 229 cases recorded in 2018.
The current figure brings to a total of 1,490 HIV/AIDS cases in the Bicol region since 1984, with Camarines Sur having the highest with 548 cases, followed by Albay, 467 cases, Sorsogon, 201 cases, Masbate, 121 cases, Camarines Norte, 110 cases, Catanduanes, 42 cases, and one from an unknown place.
Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH Bicol regional director, said cases of HIV/AIDS in the region is a serious health concern though it is only 2 percent of the total nationwide cases of 81,169.
DOH data showed that the majority of the diagnosed cases are male with ages ranging from 25 to 34.
Among the 81,169 cases, the regions with the most number of reported cases are: NCR with 30,622 cases (38%); CALABARZON with 12,467 (15%); Central Luzon with 8,005 (10%); Central Visayas with 6,827 (8%); and Davao Region with 4,477 (6%).
DOH on Tuesday, Dec. 1, observed this year’s World AIDS Day with the global theme, “Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility”.
This year’s theme recognizes and celebrates the contribution of partners and stakeholders to the HIV/AIDS response in the country.
Health workers, civil society organizations, people living with HIV, and various agencies all play a vital role in eliminating the stigma and discrimination, as well as providing accessible testing, treatment, care and support for people living with HIV, despite the presence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Bicol, HIV tests are conducted free of charge and are kept highly confidential.
There are 10 HIV/AIDs testing sites in the region: the city health offices (CHO) of Tabaco and Legazpi and rural health units (RHU) of Daraga and Manito in Albay, Naga CHO in Camarines Sur, Daet RHU III in Camarines Norte, Sorsogon CHO in Sorsogon, Virac RHU in Catanduanes and Masbate CHO and San Jacinto RHU in Masbate.