|Photo credit: TalkVietnam|
During the recent media forum spearheaded by the region’s health department here, Dr. Gerna Manatad said 69 cases were recorded by their monitoring units. Of these, 10 were recorded from 1995-2007; one each in 2008 and 2009; six in 2010; 18 in 2011; 32 in 2012; and one in January 2013.
Dr. Manatad further said of these figures, 90-91 percent of the cases are males, with age ranges from 18 to 67 years old.
Also, the DOH official also said that 90-91 percent engaged in male-to-male sexual relationship, and 11 to 12 percent of them were overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
With the increasing cases in the region, DOH-CHD Caraga has identified key actions or measures such as regularly conduct of HIV education to the Most at Risk Population (MARPs) like the registered sex workers, freelance sex workers, men having sex with men, and the clients.
Manatad also said to increase case detection, the health department is planning to expand number of Social Hygiene Clinic or rural health units to do voluntary HIV counseling and testing. They will also conduct mobile Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) for those areas with no access to VCT.
Dr.Manatad further said that with regards to the prevention and fight against stigma and discrimination, the DOH is advocating for the hundred percent Condom Use Program (CUP) especially for entertainment establishments; Conduct of peer education and outreach; Multi-sectoral coordination through Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC); Empowerment of communities; Community assemblies to reduce stigma; Augmentation of resources of social Hygiene Clinics; and Procured male condoms distributed as education materials during outreach.
In 2011, 17 males and one female were detected to have been positive of HIV in the region, while in 2012, two females and 30 males were recorded at the health department.
At the national level, 11,702 reported cases were recorded from 1984 to 2012.
In 2011, 2,349 cases were reported while 3,338 cases were reported in 2012, an increase of 42.103 percent, it was learned. (RER- PIA 13 Caraga)