There were three deaths and 45 new cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) reported in the Caraga from January to June this year, according to the Department of Health-13.
The new cases brought to 387 the total number of HIV cases reported in the region. Since 1995, a total of 34 deaths, have been recorded in Caraga.
According to the DOH report, Butuan City had the highest number with 133 cases, followed by Agusan del Sur’s 76 cases, Surigao del Sur’s 72 cases, Surigao del Norte’s 69 cases, and Agusan del Norte’s 36 cases.
The highest number of new HIV cases occurred in the 25-34 age group, followed by the 35-49 and the 50-above age groups, the DOH said.
Contracting HIV leads to a condition characterized by the weakening or breakdown of the body’s immune system.
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body’s natural defense system. Over time it leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Anthony Torralba, Butuan City Health Office-Health Education and Promotion Officer (CHO-HEPO) said the number of HIV-AIDS cases in the city alone has doubled the past three years.
In fact, he said, Butuan, Caraga’s regional capital is now considered as included in “Category A” among the 70 high-burdened areas of origin where 50 percent of new infection is coming from.
Torralba disclosed that patients who tested reactive of the virus in their office are from ages 15 to 22 years old.
“Because of the alarming increase, parents guidance, wider public discourse and discussions among private and public sectors to raise awareness among youths especially the millennials about the dreaded disease,” Torralba said.
The health official said the increase in numbers of patients coming to their office might be due to their all-out medical outreach and information drive on HIV-AIDS.
Torralba urged HIV-AIDS clients to come out in the open and avail of proper care from the government. By Ben Serrano