Region VI ranks 5th for the most number of new Human Immunodeficiency Virus cases in the country with 107 reported in June 2023, while Negros Occidental ranks 3rd in the region, with 14 new HIV cases reported in the middle of the year.
Bacolod City’s HIV/AIDs data is very close to the provincial total. The HIV AIDS Registry of the Philippines showed that from January 1984 to June 2023, there were 117,946 confirmed HIV infections in the country, with 1,518 newly diagnosed cases in June this year. From one case per day in 2008, the country has an average of 49 cases per day in 2023.
All these information were discussed during the meeting of stakeholders convened by the Provincial Health Office last Friday, Oct. 27, at the Hospital Operations Department Conference Hall of the Provincial Capitol.
Dr. Rowel Gerzon, Medical Officer IV and head of the Communicable and Medical Cluster of PHO, welcomed the attendees from the Department of Health, Department of Education, Sangguniang Panlawigan, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Provincial Gender and Development Focal Point System, and Negrosanon Young Leaders, Inc.
During the meeting, Adrian Hort Ramos of the DOH Regional Office discussed the salient features of Republic Act 11166 which strengthened the comprehensive policy on the HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care.
Ramos said the new HIV law aims to provide better access, education, care and partnerships to address the virus. He also underscored that RA 11166 has provisions for voluntary testing, observance of confidentiality, non-discrimination of people living with HIV or AIDS, and penalties for harassment of health workers providing services related to HIV-AIDS.
Meanwhile, Edjohn Javellana of the PHO, who discussed the HIV/AIDS epidemic, shared that HIV/AIDS in the Philippines is considered as the fastest growing epidemic in Asia and the Pacific Region, adding that the virus has invaded the group of educated and working or employed individuals.
He presented data that 94% of those infected are males and 6% are females.Josephine Nonato, HIV AIDS Coordinator of the PHO, presented the different programs services in the province to address HIV -AIDS.Nonato said there is only one HIV treatment Hub in the province, called AMLIG Health Clinic, and it is located at Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City.
There is also an HIV AIDS Core Team in Cadiz District Hospital located in their CHAT Room, while Lorenzo Zayco District Hospital in Kabankalan has a HAPLOS Clinic.
Other government hospitals in the province have also signified their interest to provide HACT.
Nonato also reported that the 12 cities of the province have social hygiene clinics which provide various health and medical services, referrals, and awareness or education sessions.
The PHO also has an HIV, AIDS and STI Prevention and Control program supported by the provincial gender and development fund or the GAD Budget.
The project supports trainings of most at risk population; peer education and behaviour change communication training, participants of which are trained to do community-based screening.
Meeting attendees, including SP Araceli Somosa of the First District, who chairs the Community on Health and Tourism, agreed that there is a need to reactivate the Provincial HIV-AIDS Council and observe the World AIDS Day on Dec 1, among other campaigns.#AbanseNegrense