stop-hivTACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Oct 3 (PIA) –With the increasing number of Human ImmunoVirus (HIV) cases among tubercolosis patients, various government agencies and other stakeholders have signed Friday, a pledge of commitment for collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH) in the region to intensify each role in the revitalised advocacy campaign by fast racking community screening for HIV and TB in Eastern Visayas.

The activity is aimed at reducing by half the number of new HIV infection and deaths from TB as well as ensuring that at least 80 percent of people who are eligible for treatment for HIV are receiving it.

DOH assistant regional director Paula Sydiongco said this would mean scaling up case detection and treatment of all cases of tuberculosis as well as HIV in the region.

“TB is the most common co-infection for HIV. Hence, all HIV-AIDS patients will be screened for tuberculosis and all TB patients will be encouraged to undergo HIV testing from this day onwards,” Sydiongco said.

The Philippines is one of the countries in the world that HIV cases are increasing. Estimated HIV infected persons for 2016 is around 50, 174 and over 34 thousand cases were diagnosed or 69.75% of the estimate. Meanwhile, 30% in the country are already infected but are not yet diagnosed and they don’t know they have the infection so they are still doing risky behaviors.

Data showed that since 1984 a total of 1, 822 number of deaths were reported in the country. The first reported HIV Filipino case in the Philippines was a heterosexual male who is an Overseas Filipino Worker.

All regions in the Philippines has a case of HIV. Region 8 is contributing one percent among all cases diagnosed and the highest number of cases are seen in NCR at 40% followed by Calabarzon.

Since 1984 a total of 335 cases were reported in the region. For the first thirteen years, only two cases were reported per year. However, in 2010, HIV cases started to increase. Sydiongco further said that in 2013 and 2014 the number of HIV cases doubled per year. In 2015, it rose to 89 cases.

From January to June this year, Eastern Visayas has recorded 49 HIV cases. Data showed that key affected population are males having sex with males which is 81% of the transmission followed by male to female sexual transmission which is 30%.

Half of the cases in the country were among 25-34 years old. However, the latest trend showed that HIV cases are now rapidly increasing among 15-24 years old.

To date, nine HIV positive individuals in the region are suffering from TB co-infection. Hence, DOH is encouraging the public to practice safe sex by using condom and submit for HIV testing at Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) if sexually active.

HIV-AIDS has no cure yet but the affected individual may be given an antiretroviral drug (ARD), a lifetime treatment for HIV patients provided by the Department of Health at treatment hubs and satellite treatment hubs nationwide.(PIA-8)