HIV cases in Cebu City hit 163

09/29/2010 - Cebu Philippines -Thirteen new cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus have been discovered from July up to last week bringing to 163 the total number of HIV cases recorded in Cebu City since January this year.

Dr. Chona Loma of the Cebu City Health department said 155 of the HIV positives contracted the virus through injecting drugs into their body with the use of needles that were already used by other persons.

Unlike in 1989 to 2007 where there were 50 HIV positives that acquired the virus through sex, this year only eight of the persons living with HIV that were afflicted through their sex partners.

The statistics also showed that of the 163 HIV positives this year, 137 of them are male, including homosexuals.

It was also learned that five of the 26 female HIV positives became pregnant and it is very possible that their babies will also be HIV-positive.

While the oldest HIV positive this year is a 55-year-old man, records show that in the past years there was a 79-year-old who was also found positive of the virus, while the youngest is only 15 years.

In yesterday's seminar workshop conducted at the Grand Hotel by Achieve, a non-government organization, lecturer Joel de Mesa said the statistics show that the HIV cases in other parts of the country is also increasing.

For the month of July alone, 131 new HIV cases have been reported to the Department of Health, bringing to 940 the HIV cases nationwide for the period January to July. From 1984 up to this year, the figures of HIV cases already reached 5,364.

Of these figures, 849 cases are already full-blown Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, and 323 of the AIDS victims already died.

Dr. Ilya Tac-an, head of the City Health's sexually-transmitted diseases section, considers the HIV cases in Cebu City as already alarming.

Most of those found HIV-positive admitted to be drug dependents who usually share syringes to inject Nubain into their bodies.

Other modes of HIV transmission are sexual contact, blood transfusion and organ transplant. De Mesa explained that HIV cannot be transmitted through kissing.

Of the 131 new HIV cases reported last July, two of them have already become AIDS cases and it was reported that the concerned persons acquired the virus through heterosexual contact and homosexual contact.

De Mesa said of the 940 new cases this year, 12 were reported as AIDS cases already.

The records also show that most of those who were found HIV positive were Overseas Filipino Workers who were required to undergo HIV test before they will be allowed to travel abroad.

Achieve also campaigned that if men have to have more than one sex partner, they must use protection such as condoms when engaging with other partners. (FREEMAN)

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