ZAMBOANGA CITY --The City Health Office here has expressed alarm over the increasing cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) in the city.
Dr. Kibtiya Uddin, assistant city health officer, on Thursday disclosed that they have already recorded 433 HIV-AIDS cases with 69 deaths since 1995.
A two-year-old child was among the 69 individuals who died of HIV-AIDS, she said.
Uddin said that 402 of the 433 cases involved males and the remaining 31 involved females.
“Cases of HIV in our city is alarming as the cases are increasing. Another thing is that we have cases among minors,” Uddin said citing two children aged six and seven are under medication.
At least 99 percent of the cases were acquired through sexual transmission with men having sex with men, registering 366 cases. At least 11 cases were acquired through blood donation and three cases of mother to child transmission, Uddin said.
At least two children below five years old are waiting for HIV confirmatory tests, which may add to the three cases of mother to child transmission, once confirmed.
Uddin said at least two cases involve 16 years-old patients.
The city health official said that the age bracket from 25 to 34 years old registered the highest number of cases, at 219.
Meanwhile, Uddin has reminded the public--especially those with risky sexual behavior--to voluntarily submit themselves for testing, which is being conducted for free at the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center of the City Health Office and at the Zamboanga City Medical Center.
“Don’t be afraid to know your status. It would be best to have themselves checked while they still do not have the symptoms,” she said.
Treatment is available for free at the ZCMC, where people living with HIV may avail of the Anti-Retroviral drugs.
The human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes HIV infection and over time, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is a condition in humans, in which the progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive. (PNA)