TACLOBAN CITY-Health officials in the region are alarmed over the increasing trend in the reported cases of confirmed People Living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (PLHIV).
Based on recent surveillance data, the region recorded a total of 20 new confirmed cases on August 2022, accounting for a total of 1,536 cases since the first recorded case in 1984.
Department of Health (DOH) also documented a total of 95 HIV-related deaths this year, with three deaths reported on August 2022.
“This increase is 150 percent higher compared to the cases noted on July 2022 and 60 percent higher than the cases of the same time period of the previous year,” DOH-8, in a statement, said.
Amid the increasing HIV cases, Eastern Visayas only has 12 HIV treatment hubs and one primary HIV care clinic (PHCC).
“All of which are affected with high patient load due to the alarming trend of cases for HIV in Eastern Visayas,” the health department added.
As this developed, health officials have called for support from the local government units (LGUs) in their call to decentralize the access to HIV treatment care and support services.
“This process provides accessibility, a system, and a mechanism to ensure a well-coordinated delivery of comprehensive services not only in the provision of the clinical case but also in support and prevention services, hence cutting the stigma on HIV,” said Analiza Balila, regional coordinator of National HIV, AIDS, and STI Prevention and Control Program (NASPCP) of the region.
“There is no cure for HIV infection to date. However, with increasing access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care, including treatment for opportunistic infections and advanced AIDS condition, HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives,” the DOH said.
The health department maintained that “strengthened partnership” among LGUs all over the region is vital in the agency’s vision for more comprehensive strategies and response efforts for the region’s current HIV situation.
Meanwhile, the NASPCP of DOH-8 recognized the concerted effort behind the establishment of a state-of-the-art PHCC in Ormoc City.
“This sets a good example in leading the development of a productive, resilient, equitable, and people-centered health facility in the region that serves one of the most vulnerable population- the People Living with HIV,” it said.
(RONALD O. REYES)