GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/12 October) – Health officials here warned anew residents against the dangers posed by the dreaded Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV infection after two more local residents recently tested positive of the disease.
Dr. Mely Lastimoso, coordinator of the City Integrated Health Services Office’s Social Hygiene Clinic, said two male patients from the city have been confirmed positive during the past several months of the HIV and the deadly Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), bringing the total number of patients from the area to at least 23.
She noted that the new cases involved a “professional” and a “driver.”
Of the 23 confirmed HIV/AIDS cases from the city, Lastimoso said 18 were males while only five were females.
“Our data show that most of the confirmed HIV/AIDS cases in the city involved men who have had (sexual) contact with other men,” she told a local television station.
Cris Lopera, executive director of the advocacy group Shine Foundation, explained that most of the confirmed HIV/AIDS cases were found among men that have had sexual contact with other men as they comprise the bulk of the suspected patients who have so far sought help and submitted themselves for testing.
“They were basically targeted for testing based on their behavior,” he stressed.
Lopera said the best remedy for the problem so far is through massive education among residents regarding the risks posed by the disease.
Lastimoso said the confirmation of the two new HIV/AIDS cases is considered alarming as they were only recorded during the last eight months.
The Social Hygiene Clinic, which exclusively handles confirmed and suspected HIV/AIDS cases in the area, issued last February its previous update regarding the matter.
“This should serve as a warning to everybody. The risk of acquiring the disease is quite high right now, especially among those with risky sexual behavior,” Lastimoso said.
She advised suspected HIV/AIDS patients to immediately seek help from their office for proper confirmation and handling of the disease.
“The tests are rendered free and all these are done in highly confidential manner,” she added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)