The number of HIV-AIDS or Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immune Defi ciency Syndrome cases in Negros Oriental has more than doubled during the last two years.
Provincial HIVAIDS Coordinator Cristina Dagle revealed that from 20 cases in 2015 there are now about 50 individuals who have been affected of HIVAIDS this year.
Dagle said that of the figure cited above, about 48 were acquired through males having sex with male, and the two got it from male having sex with women.
The HIV targets the immune system and weakens people’s defense systems against infections and some types of cancer.
The health officer said as the virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, infected individuals gradually become immunodeficient.
However, Dagle attributed the rise to increased reporting as victims now come out of their shell to be able to receive assistance and support from the government.
The HIV-AIDS program receives P1 million budget from the five percent Gender and Development (GAD) fund of the province.
Dagle further disclosed that the provincial government provides full assistance to HIV-AIDS clients by giving free supply of needed drugs and medicines, counseling and testing every six months, including periodic followups.
There is one case where the province helped the victim, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), for her housing and upkeep, said Dagle.
A portion of the budget also goes to Information-| Education and Advocacy activities.
HIV-AIDS is spread primarily by unprotected sex (including anal and oral sex), contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding, Dagle added.
The World Health Organization states that HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 35 million lives so far.
It is said there is no cure for HIV infection.
However, effective antiretroviral (ARV) drugs can control the virus and help prevent transmission so that people with HIV, and those at substantial risk, can enjoy healthy, long and productive lives. (PIA,Negros Oriental)