HIV cases in Cag. De Oro city reach alarming mark

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, May 12 (PNA) – Cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in this seaport capital have reached an alarming benchmark of 325 cases as of March 2015, health officials said Tuesday.

Cagayan De Oro City is now number six among the top six cities in the country with the prevalence of the HIV cases with Quezon City at the top, followed by Manila, Caloocan, Cebu, and Davao, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.

Both health officials and non-government organizations (NGOs) here have joined forces in a visceral campaign to encourage anyone – with or without HIV – to submit for a free and confidential HIV testing and counseling here.

Fritzie Estoque, chair of the Misamis Oriental-Cagayan De Oro Aids Network (MOCAN), one of the NGOs that is actively campaigning for the prevention of the spread of HIV, said that anyone can visit the social hygiene center for free HIV testing and counseling.

She said there is nothing wrong in submitting oneself to HIV testing because the person’s identity would be strictly confidential.

It would be better that the HIV positive ailment would be diagnosed at an earlier stage in order to prevent the disease from becoming into a “full blown” acute immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS),” Estoque said.

“Being diagnosed as HIV positive does not mean that a person has already an AIDS disease. HIV is curable, while AIDS is not,” she said.

Dr. Evelyn Magsayo, of the (DOH) who heads the prevention of the sexually transmitted diseases in Northern Mindanao, said the HIV testing center is located at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center, a government-owned public hospital here.

Three months ago, the city health officials reported 133 HIV cases in Cagayan De Oro City, with ages 15 to 70 years old.

Alarmed by the continued rise of HIV cases, Magsayo once described the sudden rise of the HIV cases here as “fast and furious.”

As of March until May 2015, the number of HIV cases in this trading hub of 900,000 people has gone up to 325 cases with male comprising 90 percent of the patients.

Most patients are “males having sex with males” (MSM) while the remaining 10 per cent spread out through other means such as contaminated needles used by drug dependents and blood transfusion.

Estoque said the infection of HIV cases here has “gone younger from 15 to 34 years old this time” at a daily rate of 2 to 4 patients who submitted for HIV testing and counseling. (PNA)