LEGAZPI CITY—The government needs to adopt an aggressive advocacy campaign to curb the rising number of people inflicted with HIV-AIDs.
Dr. Enrique Tayag, assistant health secretary, in a visit here said a total of 380 new HIV cases have been recorded in January this year, the highest increase since the government began monitoring HIV-AIDS cases in 1984.
This number brought to 12,082 the number of people who are suffering from HIV-AIDS since 1984, with the number still rising, he said.
“This means that from an average of nine new cases every day last year, we now have 12 new cases every day,” said Tayag.
The 380 cases also included 37 overseas Filipino workers, of whom 93 percent were males with a median age of 27 years old, said Tayag.
In Bicol, there were 104 recorded cases from January 1984 to December 2012, said Gloria Balboa, Department of Health regional director.
Albay topped the list of HIV-AIDS cases in Bicol with 42 cases; followed by Camarines Sur with 38; Masbate, 9; Sorsogon 8; Camarines Norte 5; and Catanduanes, 2.
Mike dela Rama, provincial action officer of the HIV-AIDS Albay Council, in an interview, said that of the 42 cases in Albay, majority are males with a median age of 30.
He said health records showed that in past cases the AIDS virus was acquired due to heterosexual encounters but recent cases showed the disease was traced from “male having sex with male.”
The council also monitored two HIV patients who have acquired the disease locally which means the transmission originated in the province, said Dela Rama.
Dela Rama, quoting a health report, said out of 104 cases, eight Bicolanos are undergoing antiretroviral treatment (which experts say help lengthen a person’s life) here.
Tayag said there are misconceptions about condoms. “Don’t believe those who say that condoms have holes and you cannot benefit from them. And always carry it with you,” he said.