ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/13 May) – The City Health Office has recorded six confirmed cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or HIV/AIDS since January this year, an official said.
City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin Agbulos said this has brought the total number of HIV/AIDS cases since 1995 to 86.
Agbulos added they are still waiting for the results of the tests from the Department of Health’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine on four other individuals.
He said 85 percent of the 86 recorded patients are males.
He said 18 of the 86 patients have already died but “we don’t have information on the status of the transients.”
Fifty-seven of the 86 patients are from this city while the rest are transients, who came here “for testing” and returned to their places of origin, Agbulos said.
The official said 26 patients are overseas Filipino workers who volunteered to undergo tests, while others were found to have HIV-AIDS after undergoing screening as blood donors.
He added they are now focusing their anti-HIV/AIDS on secondary schools in the city as “the recent infections are already attacking our youths.”
He noted that the six recent patients belong to the 15-34 years age group.
“We had been going around the schools giving lectures and especially those high school students since we know they are highly vulnerable,” Agbulos said.
He said they have formed organizations in the schools, including in the universities, to help them in their anti-HIV/AIDS campaign.
Agbulos also said the city will hold a candlelight memorial on May 16, two days ahead of the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial that takes place every third Sunday of May since it started in 1983.
He said they will hold a torch parade to Plaza Pershing downtown for the ecumenical prayers.
The memorial aims to raise public consciousness about HIV/AIDS. (MindaNews)