Naga HIV testing center records 14 cases in Q1
By Jason B. Neola
Everyone needs to undergo a regular Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) test especially those with multiple sex partners or engage in unprotected sex including men who have sex with men (MSM).
This was given emphasis by Grace Guevara, medical technologist, who performs HIV tests at the Naga City HIV Testing Center. She issued the warning in view of the alarming continued rise in HIV cases.
Guevara said that in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, HIV may not be on the top of people’s concern. But everyone has to ensure that they get the needed services most of the time like the test to see to it that they are free from HIV. “The current pandemic has not stopped it,” she said.
In 2020, the center recorded 40 individuals who were tested positive for HIV. The figure, however, did not belong exclusively for patients living in Naga City as the center also accommodated referrals from other LGUs and conducted tests on individuals coming from different places in the Bicol region.
From January to March 2021, the testing center has already recorded 14 new HIV cases.
Guevara said that “out of that number, eight were from different towns but are working in private offices and establishments in the city.
According to her, the four ways how HIV is transmitted are: unsafe or unprotected sex; exposure to infected blood and blood products; mother-to-child transmission; and MSM.
MSM also known as males who have sex with males are male persons who engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex, regardless of how they identify themselves. They may be identified as gay, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, or heterosexual; or dispense with sexual identification altogether.
Guevara also called on individuals who have multiple sex partners to be responsible enough by way of voluntarily submitting themselves to HIV tests. “But undergoing a regular HIV test does not mean that you will be spared from getting the virus,” she said.
She said unprotected sex must be avoided by using condoms or by abstinence. “In 2020, I knew of persons who religiously underwent regular HIV tests but, at the later part of the year, they were found out to be HIV positive.