ILIGAN CITY, Dec. 14 (PIA) -- Based on the Sept. 2018 data from the Department of Health (DOH), an average of 32 people are diagnosed with Human Immuno Defficiency Virus (HIV) per day.
From January 1984 to September 2018, a total of 59,135 HIV cases has been reported in the Philippines and the numbers are continuously rising.
"There is a hidden and growing HIV transmission in the Philippines. We should not be complacent," said Ian Jose C. Baang of DOH Region 10 during his presentation on HIV 101 at the Information Volunteer's Network (IVN) Conference held by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) at Crystal Inn, Iligan City.
Baang clarified that HIV can only be acquired through human to human contact.
It attacks the immune system, making the human body weak and susceptible to diseases.
When a person gets two or more potentially fatal opportunistic infections while having HIV such as tuberculosis or pneumonia, then it becomes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
But, when these infections are treated, the person will go back to being a person with HIV and not AIDS.
There have been many misconceptions of the virus, Baang said.
He explained that HIV is not transmitted through common activities such as coughing, talking, touching, kissing, insect bites, and use of public utilities, nor is it an airborne disease.
HIV can only be transmitted, he said, in four ways: unprotected penetrative sexual intercourse with infected person; transfusion of contaminated blood; use of contaminated needles; and mother to child transmission during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding.
Even then, for transmission to be effective, the exit of the virus from an infected person, sufficient quantity, survival, and entry to another person are integral principles that should be met, he said.
HIV cannot be transmitted through tears, saliva, sweat, urine or feces but only through vaginal secretion, semen, blood, and breastmilk.
The staggering rise in the cases of HIV-AIDS in Northern Mindanao and in the Philippines as a whole has become a national concern for DOH and other pertinent government agencies.
According to Baang, the Philippines belongs to the Top 10 countries with spiking cases of HIV-AIDS since 2009.
Currently, there is neither a cure for HIV nor a medicine that can remove the virus from the human body.
Yet treatment is readily available for persons living with HIV (PLHIV) to improve quality of life, stop the disease's progression, and lower the virus' ability to damage the immune system.
Baang also emphasized various preventive measures such as abstaining from sex, being careful and mutually faithful, correct and consistent use of condoms, refraining from sharing needles, and ingesting drugs and alcohol, proper education and early detection, among others.
HIV testing centers are accessible in cities all over the Philippines.
Testing is free, strictly confidential, and is available for all.
Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia revealed that out of 418 check-ups in Iligan City, 26 came out HIV positive in 2018 alone.
He said 25 of them are male and one is female.
"Ihatag ang maong kasayuran arun dili mukatag ang HIV-AIDS sa Iligan (Give the correct information so that HIV-AIDS will not spread in Iligan City)," he said, encouraging the youth and barangay officials to advocate for HIV-AIDS awareness in their own communities.
Frank Gumapon, Regional Director of PIA Region 10, said the IVN conference is one of the many initiatives to spread good news to the public through credible information disseminators and bring the government closer to the people. (PIA Iligan City)