The Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) has recorded a total of 3,857 cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Davao Region as of June 2019.
RHWC head Dr. Jordana Ramiterre indicated that around 85% of the recorded cases were from the city.
“A total of 2,902 cases were recorded here in the city. It is saddening that even with the programs around, the number of HIV cases has been increasing. We have been conducting programs even before but we are still experiencing a high rate of HIV cases,” Ramiterre said.
She revealed that last year, 35 people were recorded to have acquired HIV per month. As of January to June this year, an average of 38 people acquired HIV per month.
“It has been noticeably increasing and it’s a bit alarming that many people are still acquiring HIV illness,” Ramiterre said.
She said treatment centers are also increasing for HIV patients. Aside from the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), the Davao Doctor’s Hospital has also established their treatment facilities for those who acquired the HIV.
RHWC’s initiative to help decrease HIV cases is to train key population for community-based testing programs as some of these HIV patients are hesitant to get tested in the higher establishments.
“We are to train key population to help us with this problem. Some patients are not that comfortable in approaching hospitals for testing because they might be ashamed, so we decided to have community-based testing for this matter,” she also said.
The RHWC is also boosting their information drive towards the HIV matter as they are to educate more the people on HIV.
“Behavior is a process. We have been setting programs for a long time now, but it is still them who can control themselves. Behavior is a difficult thing to change,” she said.
Ramiterre also points out some factors like the influence of social media, peer pressure, and being sexually active as reasons for the increase of HIV cases.
“The generation is changing, and in our part we are still conducting programs to educate people. Comprehensive education and responsible parenting can really help especially the youth, who are now mostly engaging into sexual intercourse,” she said.
This Sunday, Dec. 1, is the World AIDS Day.
Observed since 1988, it is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning for those who have died of the disease.