Puerto Princesa health office confirms 12 HIV cases

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Dec. 2 (PNA) -– The City Health Office (CHO) here confirmed Monday the chronicling of 12 confirmed cases of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as it conducts “active finding” to discover more affected residents.

In an interview with the Philippines News Agency (PNA) Monday, CHO chief Dr. Juancho Monserate confirmed the existence of the cases, identifying them as those who have engaged in unprotected male-to-male (M2M) sexual activities.

“Yes, we have recorded 12 HIV cases in Puerto Princesa, and they are males who have engaged in unprotected sexual activities with males also,” Monserate said.

He said the 12 HIV patients were provided with vital information about their condition to help them, and were referred to the San Lazaro Hospital (SLH), a referral facility in Metro Manila for infectious and communicable diseases subsidized by the national government.

“Since we have no facility for them here, we referred them to the San Lazaro Hospital, where they can seek better intervention for their HIV conditions,” Monserate said.

All of the recorded cases are Filipinos, and none of them is a sex worker in Puerto Princesa.

With the confirmed cases, the health officer said they are now conducting “active finding” because they know there are more cases that need confirmation.

“Active finding means we really go out to look for them; not wait for them to come to our office to be examined,” Monserate said, adding their active finding brings them to what are called “cruising areas.”

These areas, he explained, are where sexually active individuals who frequently go and gather in such as night clubs, bars, even public parks, and other venues.

“We know there are more cases; maybe they are just embarrassed to go to us to seek intervention. We want to help them, and they can come to us so we can explain to them their condition,” he said. (PNA)