13 SOCOT SENIOR HIGH STUDENTS TEST POSITIVE FOR HIV
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The provincial health department of South Cotabato has raised alarm over the rising cases of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) among high school or secondary students.
John Arlo Codilla, infectious diseases coordinator of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said Thursday at least 13 senior high school students in the province have so far tested positive for the disease this year.
Codilla said the cases were detected during the random voluntary screening conducted by the IPHO in high schools within the province’s 10 towns and lone city.
The tests, part of expanded mobile testing services, were done in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd), he said.
“It’s really alarming since it means that there could be more undetected cases among our students,” he said in a briefing.
A report released by the IPHO showed that the confirmed new cases of HIV in the province this year has already reached 368.
At least 13 deaths were also recorded since January due to complications caused by advanced stages of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Since 1984, a total of 744 HIV/AIDS have been documented in the area, mostly involving male young professionals aged 25 to 34 years old.
Codilla said the 13 infected high school students are currently undergoing treatment through the province’s HIV/AIDS Core Team (HACT) Clinic.
As part of the process, he said the patients and their parents have already undergone the required counselling sessions.
“We tapped the parents as treatment buddies of the patients. We inform and follow-up with them the required medications, check-ups, laboratory tests and counselling of their children,” he said.
“The most important thing here is the early detection of cases to facilitate their immediate treatment,” he added.
He warned that late diagnosis could lead to the development of full-blown AIDS. (PNA)