‘AIDS victims in Davao Region getting younger’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 January) — Persons living with HIV-AIDS in the Davao Region are getting younger, data gathered by a nongovernment organization based in the city showed.

“The victims are really young. We have one case who had sexual experience at age of 10. There are others who were raped, which made them victims twice,” Connie Actub, of the Alliance Against AIDS in Mindanao Inc. (Alagad), said during the program “Ang Babaye Karon” aired over Radyo Ukay yesterday.

Actub said 189 cases were listed in the city’s AIDS registry between 1993 and September 2011. Of this number, 173 are men and only 16 are women.

Sixty-two cases involved individuals between 15 and 24 years old, she added.

Actub said 23 of the victims had already died.

Sexual intercourse is the number one reason cited for the transmission of the disease, followed by blood transfusion and sharing drug needles.

The problem, Actub said, is that the women victims did not know the sex habits of their partners.

She said the victims need psychosocial interventions and debriefing because they have developed fear, insecurity and low self-esteem because of the disease.

She said people can avail of the free AIDS testing at the Southern Philippines Medical Center.

The symptoms of the disease can be detected from three to six months after a person acquires it.

“We need to repeat the tests because it doesn’t mean you are already negative if the first results yielded nothing,” Actub said.

She also reminded those who are sexually active to always use condoms to guard themselves against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.

“There is need to educate everybody to help reduce the cases of HIV in the country and we are grateful that the city is monitoring and is serious in combating the increasing numbers of victims,” she said. (MindaNews)