MANILA, PHILIPPINES – While the country is steeling itself from the Ebola virus’ potential penetration of the country’s otherwise still formidable defenses, an old viral villain is leaving a bloody trail of a dreadful death and disease.
No, the Old Scourge of AIDS, has not left the building.
As if making a Halloween nightmare come to life, the Grim Reaper is hacking away at unsuspecting or susceptible people with his deadly scythe dipped in the HIV virus.[pq]A total of 113 Filipinos infected with HIV have died between January and August this year.[/pq]
HIV causes AIDS which has no known cure yet. Anti-retroviral therapy only slows down the ailment which destroys the human body’s immune system.
Thus, Cebu Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas declared support for the passage of a new AIDS Prevention which seeks to increase public funding and new strategies to suppress HIV spread.
“It has become absolutely imperative for Congress to establish highly aggressive new strategies to fight HIV. Every Filipino living with HIV also has to be assured of adequate treatment and long-term care, welfare assistance, and social protection,” Gullas said.
According to the lawmaker’s report, a total of 1,052 AIDS deaths have been recorded in the country since 1984.[pq]The number of reported local AIDS deaths have been increasing from 68 in 2011, 176 in 2012, and 179 in 2013.[/pq]
As of August, the Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry has recorded 20,424 cases, 93 percent of whom were infected through sexual contact.
The remaining cases were infected through needle-sharing among injecting drug users, mother-to-child transmission, contaminated blood transfusion and needle prick injury.
“Under the bill, a case-management mechanism will be in place for every person living with HIV. Affected families, including children orphaned by AIDS, will also be afforded ample care and support,” the Cebu solon said.
The House Bill entitled “An act strengthening the Philippine comprehensive policy on HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support and establishing the Philippine National HIV and AIDS program, revising for the purpose Republic Act 8504, otherwise known as the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998, and appropriating funds thereof” has already been approved by the appropriations committee.
Meanwhile, the number of local HIV/AIDS cases is expected to exceed 30,000 by the end of 2014 with 16 new cases being documented daily, a official said today.
Noel Palaypayon, deputy unit manager at the Department of Health’s National HIV/AIDS/STI Surveillance and Strategic Information Unit, said there has been an alarming increase in HIV cases in the country since 2006.
“For the past two decades, the HIV was described as, first, from hidden and growing, then low and slow and to fast and furious, ” he said during the 13th Philippine National Convention on AIDS.
DoH records showed that in 2000, one new case was being recorded every three days. In 2007, one new cases was being recorded daily, and then two new cases daily in 2009.
Palaypayon said in 2012 they saw nine new cases and then 14 new cases in 2013 and 16 new cases this year every day.
The projected number of people with HIV/AIDS is expected to reach 30,650 by the end of 2014. Most of them belong to 15-24 age group.
– DFF, Medical Observer