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Bicol sees spike in HIV cases

LEGAZPI CITY— The Department of Health (DOH) Bicol regional office has expressed alarm over the increasing number of cases of HIV-AIDS in the entire region.

The agency registered a 74-percent rise over the 2015 count compared to the figures posted in 2014 and 2013.

The DOH-Bicol recorded 57 cases in 2013, which rose by about 36.8 percent in 2014 to 78 incidents.
In 2015, the number stood at 136, or 74-percent higher than the 78 cases chalked up in 2014.

Lilian Rose Contesa-Encisa, HIV coordinator and senior health program officer of DOH-Bicol, said that in January alone, the agency recorded three occurrences of AIDS -- two in Camarines Sur and one in Albay -- and 12 asymptomatic cases.

Of the asymptomatic cases, four are in Camarines Sur, four in Albay, one in Catanduanes and three in Masbate.

Encisa said the DOH can easily detect AIDS because of the symptoms it shows like weakening of resistance and immune system of one affected.

Asymptomatic refers to a type of AIDS that does not show any sign, which only manifests when the result comes out in a check-up.

She said it is a result of unsafe sex and risky behavior or carelessness.

Records of the Epidemiology Bureau of the Philippine HIV-AIDS Registry from 1984 to November 2015 showed that the unit had registered a total of 367 AIDS cases in Bicol -- 69 are AIDS and 298 were asymptomatic incidents.

Camarines Sur registered the highest cases at 20 AIDS and 113 asymptomatic; Albay followed with 25 AIDS and 89 asymptomatic; Sorsogon trailed at 11 AIDS and 37 asymptomatic; Masbate was fourth at 8 AIDS and 24 asymptomatic; Camarines Norte posted 3 AIDS and 24 asymptomatic; and Catanduanes had 2 AIDS and 10 asymptomatic.

Of the 367 HIV-AIDS cases from 1984 to November 2015, more males got sick at 322 while female victims were only at 45.

Based also on the records, those infected aged 25 to 34 years old totaled 210, followed by the 35-49 age bracket with 76 cases and those in the 14-14 age group have 69 occurrences.

As to other members of the society, 117 bisexuals got infected, 93 heterosexuals got sick and 153 homosexuals.

From 1984, 32 have died of the social disease in Bicol wherein five died only in 2015.

As a result of these alarming figures, the DOH strengthened its advocacy in schools and communities to prevent the spread of the disease, like what it did in Manito, Albay where it conducted a one-week advocacy campaign.(PNA)

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