ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/22 May) – The City Health Office here has recorded seven new cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immunodeficiency Acquired Syndrome (HIV-AIDS), from January this year, bringing to 35 the number of cases recorded since 1995, Dr. Rodel Agbulos, City Health Officer, said.
Of the 35 cases, Agbulos said 17 were recorded from 1995 to 2009, 11 last year and seven since January. HIV causes AIDS.
Agbulos said majority of the recorded cases were transmitted through Males having Sex with Males (MSMs) while the other cases were acquired in another country by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) coming from Malaysia.
Agbulos explained the increase in the number of recorded cases shows the efficiency of the city government’s campaign.
“The figures exhibited the outcome of our programs on HIV-AIDS prevention and control. The data showed that we are effective in our continuous advocacy and education campaign on HIV-AIDS,” he said.
“In the past, people were hesitant to be tested and to report their condition. But now, judging from the number of reported cases, we can say that out efforts are gaining grounds,” he added.
He said the city government has been relentless in its campaign against HIV-AIDS, citing public awareness programs, seminars and related activities are regularly conducted.
He said his office is also offering free HIV tests and counseling.
The City Health Office will lead the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial on Friday, May 27, at the Plaza del Pilar.
Agbulos said the observance will begin with a candlelight parade that will start in front of the Zamboanga City Fire District (ZCFD) headquarters along Mayor Climaco Avenue to the Plaza del Pilar at Pettit Barracks, which is just beside the Our Lady of the Pillar Shrine.
Agbulos said the event is dedicated to the people who died of AIDS and will also be an opportunity to instill awareness among the public on the seriousness of HIV-AIDS since the month of May is observed as AIDS Awareness Month in this city. (MindaNews)