ILOILO CITY COUNCIL ALARMED BY INCREASING HIV CASES
THE Sangguniang Panlugsod is alarmed by rising cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) / Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in Iloilo City.
During its regular session on Nov 20, 2018, the council requested the presence of the program manager and speakers from the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) to talk about HIV status in the city on Nov 27, 2018.
In his privilege speech, Councilor Joshua Alim emphasized that the city government must be informed about the status of HIV in the city.
“We need to invite all those experts in the office to inform us about the status and maybe we can also invite the Department of Health on this so that we will be properly advised on and relay it to our constituents. We should be aware of this and we need to do something if we can,” Alim said.
According to Councilor Liezl Joy Zulueta-Salazar, chair of the Committee on Women and Family Relations, most HIV cases in the city were males having sex with males (MSM).
“Most of our patients diagnosed with HIV are MSM. But we have as young as 15 and 16 years old from the city of Iloilo,” she said.
In 2018, the city recorded 20 HIV and AIDS deaths, the highest in the region, according to the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-6.
From January 1986 to August 2018, Iloilo City also has the highest number of cumulative cases of HIV/AIDS at 719.
DOH-6 added that out of 2,740 recorded cases in Western Visayas recorded since 1986, 765 were between 15 to 24 years old; 1,389 were 25 to 34 years old; 493 were 35 to 49 years old; 89 were above 50 years old; and four were below 15 years old.
Salazar said the increase in HIV cases could also be attributed to intensive campaign drives and HIV testing.
“I feel that we have intensive drive and testing that is why there are a lot of cases of HIV that was diagnosed this year,” Salazar added.
Salazar emphasized that different treatment hubs in the city are giving out free medications and free HIV testing.
“We are doing our best to help prevent the spread of the disease. We have different hubs for people living with HIV and we give out free medications free testing. Even in my office, we have free testing and they can come into my office and ask for free,” she noted.
Salazar also mentioned that DOH is conducting free HIV testing in nightclubs and around the city, together with the City Health Office, and FPOP.