Some blood donors in Surigao have HIV, other diseases

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/13 October) — Some blood donors tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other diseases, an official of the blood bank center at the Caraga Regional Hospital in this city said on Friday.

Elsa P. Adlawan, medical technologist III at National Voluntary Blood Services Program of the blood bank of the hospital said that aside from HIV, some blood donors also tested positive for syphilis and hepatitis, among others.

But Adlawan could not say how many of the blood donors actually had the contagious sexually transmitted diseases.

A document from the blood bank showed at least 181 of the 3,911 blood donors last year were found to have infectious diseases.

Adlawan did not specifically mention how many of the donors were found to have HIV and syphilis, another sexually transmitted disease.

For the second quarter of this year 60 blood donors were found to have infectious diseases. MindaNews was yet to obtain figures for the first quarter.

Earlier, city health officials were alarmed on the rising number of HIV cases in the province which has almost doubled now compared to last year.

Jessica L. Nepomuceno, program coordinator of the Sexually Transmitted Infections /HIV/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome program of the City Health Office, said there are two new additional HIV patients discovered this year.

The total HIV cases in the province have now reached 14, almost double from last year’s eight.

Of the 2014 figure, nine came from Surigao City; two from Dapa and one from Pilar, both towns located in Siargao Island; one from Sison; and one from Gigaquit.

Nepomuceno said the figure excluded the blood collections found to have HIV cases in the blood bank at Caraga Regional Hospital.

She said there could still be unreported HIV cases as testing is not mandatory as well as due to the stigma put on people with such disease.

“This only proves that some people out there did not know that they carry this disease,” she said.

She added that city health office is offering a free HIV testing. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)