Per: Emme Rose Santiagudo
One person is diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Western Visayas every 13 hours, according to the Department of Health-Health Development Center (DOH-CHD) -6.
Caroline Tumabotabo, Nurse V of CHD-6, said that Western Visayas ranked fifth in the country in terms of percentage of new HIV cases in August 2018.
"From 1986 to August 2018, there were 2,741 cases registered in the region. Of this total, 2,263 were asymptomatic cases and 478 are considered cases of advanced or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), "added Tumabotabo.
Monalisa Diones, manager of the Philippines Family Planning Program (FPOP) -Iloilo, said they also noted an increase in the number of deaths from HIV and AIDS.
"The increase in cases can be attributed to better reporting and case finding," Diones said.
Meanwhile, DOH-6 recorded 278 deaths with the highest number of deaths in the city of Iloilo (20), followed by the province of Iloilo with 13; Town of Bacolod with 11; and Negros Occidental with 7.
In Western Visayas, there are five treatment centers: Western Visayas Medical Center and The Medical City in Iloilo, Angel Salazar Memorial Hospital in Antique, Corazon Locsin Memorial Hospital in Negros and Dr. Rafael Tumbokon Memorial Hospital in Aklan.
In addition to free initial laboratories and free services, DOH-6 said they also extended their work hours from 8 am to 8 pm at treatment centers.
In line with the commemoration of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, DOH will organize campus visits and a Search for HIV / AIDS Ambassadors.
The campus tour aims to spread awareness among students to help prevent the spread of the disease, while the annual search will seek champion ambassadors in informing the public about the disease.