HIV Mindanao

Courtesy of  of MINEX
AT LEAST 34 cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were recorded by the Department of Health (DOH) in Northern Mindanao as of September this year.

Dr. David Mendoza, director I of the DOH Center for Health Development (CHD) in Northern Mindanao, said 16 of these cases are from Cagayan de Oro, seven of whom are males who are now under the care of Alliance Against Aids in Mindanao (Alagad Mindanao) and are receiving antiretroviral treatment and care.

"The rest of the nine patients from Cagayan de Oro were no longer monitored since treatment is given to patients on a voluntary basis, not mandatory," Mendoza said during a press conference held Monday at Hotel Conchita.

Mendoza said in the Philippines, the National Aids Registry recorded at least 5,729 cases of HIV and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (Aids) since 1984 up to the present.

As cases of HIV/Aids keep on increasing, the DOH is reportedly having a hard time doing surveillance on suspected persons in the country.

This is because of the effect of a law in the country that does not require mandatory testing to high risk individuals, especially overseas Filipino workers, said Dr. Jaime Bernadas, regional director of DOH-CHD for Northern Mindanao.

Bernadas said the only way to stop the spread of the virus is through preventive measures.

"This is done through our partnership with the Global Fund and the World Health Organization," he said in the same press conference.

Bernadas said the health department would push through with its HIV/Aids prevention and information campaign through the distribution of free condoms and doing free consultation and confidential counseling.

On December 1, the DOH-Northern Mindanao will spearhead the celebration of the World Aids Day with the theme "Universal Access and Human Rights."

A program is set to be held at 8 a.m. at the Capitol grounds.

Bernadas said the yearly activity hopes to raise awareness about Aids pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.

During the press conference, Bernadas discussed the various activities that the DOH has lined up in cooperation with its various partners, such as Tingog Cagayan de Oro, Alagad Mindanao and other government agencies.

Among the activities lined up are a forum on sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and Aids, and an extemporaneous speech contest among private and public high school students.

A series of blood-letting activities will also be held in various barangays in the city.

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