ILOILO City – The number of persons who died from HIV-AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus – Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) in Western Visayas rose to 303 since recording started in January 1986.
This latest figure was as of February 2019, according to the Department of Health (DOH) Region 6.
Of these deaths, 177 – or more than half – were recorded from years 2016 to 2019.
With 40, Iloilo City had the most number of deaths from 2016 to 2019, followed by Iloilo province with 39; Bacolod City, 37; Negros Occidental, 27; Aklan, 19; and Antique, Capiz and Guimaras with eight each.
Christine Mosqueda, regional STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) nurse coordinator of DOH-6, stressed the importance of early diagnosis.
“Kon late na, antiretroviral therapy may not be enough,” Mosqueda explained.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection. It is recommended for everyone who has HIV.
ART helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and reduces the risk of HIV transmission.
Mosqueda said DOH-6 is also promoting routine HIV testing “without stigma attached.”
As of February 2019, she added, one person is diagnosed with HIV every nine hours in Western Visayas.
DOH’s latest data showed Region 6 having 3,175 HIV cases since January 1986.
The most number of cases were in Iloilo City (791), followed by Iloilo province (777), Negros Occidental (554), Bacolod City (506), Capiz (222), Aklan (209), Antique (164), and Guimaras (63).
On May 19, DOH-6 will be joining the 36th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial.
“This is global commemoration of those who died of HIV-AIDS. It also aims to raise public awareness on the disease,” said Mosqueda.
Here, the commemoration will be held at St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary in Jaro district. It will start with a mass at 5 p.m.
In the whole country, DOH has recorded 64,291 HIV cases (as of February 2019) from all the 17 regions, with 32 new cases recorded each day./PN