PALO, Leyte — The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 204 new cases of human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) in Eastern Visayas in 2018, which accounts for 26 percent of the total cases detected since 1989.
There are already 774 cases with 48 deaths since the health department started its monitoring of HIV/AIDS in the region in 1989, said DOH regional information officer John Paul.
Roca said at least nine people died due to the infection last year.
“The youngest victim is 15 and the oldest is 49. About 90 percent of the newly-diagnosed cases got the illness through male-to-male sex,” Roca told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
The increasing number of newly-diagnosed victims of this infection is triggered by the massive information drive and the establishment of testing and treatment centers in Tacloban City, Samar, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, and Southern Leyte.
Based on the new cases documented in 2018, the region had an average of one case every day. Last year’s 204 newly-detected cases are 13 percent up than the 181 diagnosed in 2017.
DOH noted several cases in Tacloban City, Palo in Leyte, Ormoc City, Baybay City, Catbalogan City, and Calbayog City.
Tacloban, the regional capital has been included under category A for having more than 50 cases since 2010.
The city recorded 108 cases in the past eight years.
Of the 204 new HIV/AIDS new cases last year, 75 were reported in Leyte, 30 in Samar, 28 in Tacloban, 21 in Southern Leyte, 20 in Northern Samar, 16 in Eastern Samar, and 14 in Biliran.
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system. If untreated, a person’s immune system will eventually be completely destroyed, according to Avert, an organization based in the United Kingdom.
AIDS, on the other hand, refers to a set of symptoms and illnesses that occur at the very final stage of HIV infection.
The DOH targets that by 2022, some 90 percent of all persons with HIV would be aware of their health status and would be taking medications.
Preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS is one of the targets under Goal 3 of the 17 goals of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders in September 2015. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO/PNA)