Bacolod City – Negros Occidental is in third place in Western Visayas when it comes to the number of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases, with 14 new cases this year.
Region 6 is also fifth among regions in the Philippines, with the most number of cases at 107, as of June this year.
Bacolod City’s HIV/AIDs data is very close to the provincial total.
The data was revealed in a meeting of stakeholders convened by the Provincial Health Office at the Hospital Operations Department recently.
The HIV AIDS Registry of the Philippines showed that from January 1984 to June 2023, there were 117,946 confirmed HIV infections in the country, with 1,518 newly diagnosed cases in June this year.
From one case per day in 2008, the country now has an average of 49 cases per day in 2023.
Adrian Hort Ramos of the DOH Regional Office discussed the salient features of Republic Act 11166, which strengthened the comprehensive policy on HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care.
Ramos said the new HIV law aims to provide better access, education, care and partnerships to address the virus.
He pointed out that RA 11166 has provisions for voluntary testing, observance of confidentiality, non-discrimination of people living with HIV-Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), and penalties for harassment of health workers providing services related to HIV-AIDS.
Edjohn Javellana of the PHO, who discussed the HIV-AIDS epidemic, shared that HIV-AIDS in the Philippines is considered the fastest growing epidemic in Asia and the Pacific Region, adding that the virus has invaded the group of educated and working or employed individuals.
He presented data that 94 percent of those infected are male, and 6 percent are female.
Josephine Nonato, HIV-AIDS coordinator of the PHO, said there is only one HIV treatment Hub in the province, the AMLIG Health Clinic located at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital compound in Bacolod City.
There is also an HIV-AIDS Core Team in Cadiz District Hospital located in their HACT Room, while the Lorenzo Zayco District Hospital in Kabankalan has a HAPLOS Clinic.
Other government hospitals in the province have also signified their interest to provide HACT.
Nonato also reported that the 12 cities of the province have social hygiene clinics which provide various health and medical services, referrals, and awareness or education sessions.
The PHO also has an HIV, AIDS and STI Prevention and Control program supported by the provincial gender and development fund or the GAD Budget.
The projects support training of the most at-risk population; peer education and behavior change communication training, participants of which are trained to do community-based screening.
Board Member Araceli Somosa (1st district) chairperson of the Committee on Health and Tourism said that there is a need to reactivate the Provincial HIV-AIDS Council and observe World AIDS Day on Dec 1. (News & photo courtesy of PHO PIO via The Visayan Daily Star)