100 HIV-positive cases recorded in Palawan – DOH

PALAWAN, Philippines – About 100 HIV cases have been identified in Palawan, two years since the establishment of the Ospital ng Palawan(ONP)-Red Top Center, the Department of Health (DOH) Mimaropa revealed.

Based on the records of the ONP's Red Top Center since May 11, 2015, half of the cases were 25-40 years old; 40% were 15-24 years old; and 10% were 41 years old and above.

“These patients are all enrolled and already undergoing treatment and management at the center," DOH Mimaropa Regional Director Eduardo Janairo said in a news release.

He clarified, however, that "The rise in the number of cases does not necessarily mean that HIV in the province is increasing, but it is due to the growing number of people who are now aware of the disease and voluntarily visiting HIV clinics to be tested for them to know their HIV status."

According to ONP-Red Top Center, from January 1 to April 30, 2017, they recorded 24 new cases. Six of them are asymptomatic, and include a pregnant woman. “These new cases were already given anti-retro viral (ARV) drugs to prevent the spread of the virus inside the body,” Janairo said.

DOH-Mimaropa now has two HIV/AIDS Satellite Treatment Center: one is located at the Occidental Mindoro Provincial Hospital in Mamburao, and the ONP-Red Top HIV/AIDS Treatment Center in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

To avert the spread of the virus, the regional director said his office is working closely with the ONP, the Provincial Health Office, and the Municipal Health Offices in "continuously monitoring the development of the HIV situation in every province."

Health information drive and other HIV awareness activities are ongoing in various communities even in far-flung areas. "HIV is everyone’s business and everybody must be properly educated about the virus,” he emphasized.

According to the March 2017 HARP (HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines) report, there are now a total of 968 newly diagnosed cases, 32% higher compared to the 735 cases over the same period last year. It is also the highest number of cases recorded since 1984.

Mimaropa now ranks 9th among the provinces with the highest number of HIV cases, constituting 3% of the national statistics. With that is a 2% increase in cases since February 2017.  

The regions with the highest number of HIV cases are:

The remaining 289 cases were from the rest of the country.

“HIV still has no cure, no vaccine to prevent the spread of the virus. The only protection is through proper education about HIV and practicing safe sex," Janairo explained.

He reminded the public that, "It is best to submit yourself for an HIV test to know your HIV status. Testing is free and confidential in all DOH accredited clinics nationwide." – Rappler.com