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CEBU CITY, Philippines - The Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (Resu) 7 recorded 274 new cases of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the first three months this year in the region, 72 percent higher than the 159 cases posted in the same period last year.
According to the HIV and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Registry of the Department of Health (DOH) 7, that of the new HIV cases, six were reported to have progressed into AIDS. All six are male.
The reported modes of transmission were sexual contact and males having sex with males.
Dr. Ilya Tac-an, Cebu City epidemiologist and head of the HIV/AIDS Detection Unit of the City Health Department, said there were two reported deaths due to AIDS last year, while only one was reported in 2010.
Tac-an said it was easier for them to reach out to commercial sex workers than injecting drug users since the practice was illegal.
She said the only thing her office could do was to educate the injecting drug users not to share needles to avoid getting the virus.
Tac-an also said couples who were HIV-positive should use protection to avoid pregnancy.
”We will just intensify our program in educating the people and urge drug users and other individuals with risky sexual behavior to undergo HIV test regularly, so the infection can be detected early,” Tac-an said.
Last year, the DOH regional office recorded a total of 2,349 HIV cases, 94 of which developed into AIDS.