GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/05 June) – A 23-year old woman is reported to be positive of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and is exhibiting symptoms of the dreaded acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Helen (not her real name) has been in and out of the hospital and is now under the care of the city health office.
She arrived in the city from Manila two years ago where she worked as a house helper and lived with her boyfriend for a while. The two had reportedly split up before she went home.
It was not immediately known if her former boyfriend was also HIV-positive. The whereabouts of her ex-boyfriend man could no longer be traced.
The doctor who recently attended to the patient but requested anonymity refused to give further details including the place of residence of the patient.
HIV cases in the city have increased in recent years. In May last year, Dr. Mely Lastimoso of the City Integrated Health Services office said they have been attending to 28 HIV cases, five more than in 2010.
None of those HIV cases involved commercial sex workers.
Lastimoso however qualified that not all sex workers and those working in high risk environment are covered by the city’s HIV monitoring program.
HIV interferes with the body’s ability to produce anti-bodies making patients vulnerable to infection. When it reaches the stage of AIDS patients have little time to live.
The deadly virus is acquired through transfer of body fluids and sharing of intravenous needles, a practice common among illegal drug users.
Since the city health office began monitoring HIV-AIDS cases in the city, at least five patients have already died.
“Surprisingly,” Lastimoso said, “a handful of HIV infected cases in General Santos City involve professionals.”
This, she said, has shattered the traditional belief that HIV-AIDS only infects sex workers and homosexuals.
Lastimoso also confirmed that a well-known businessman who died two years ago was confirmed to have acquired the virus. She declined to identify the victim.
She said sexually active persons should practice safe sex by using condoms and avoiding multiple and high risk partners. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews)