SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/17 March) — At least 25 people have been found positive of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Surigao del Norte since 2007, according to Department of Health-Caraga.
Eleven of these cases were discovered last year and two this year, said Jessica I. Nepomuceno, program coordinator of the Sexually Transmitted Infections /HIV/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) program of the City Health Office.
She said that in the fourth quarter of last year, five persons from Surigao City and one each from the towns of Burgos, Bacuag and Tubod tested positive of the disease.
Early in 2014, one person from Dapa town tested positive. Two others from Gigaquit town and Surigao City were also found to have the disease.
Nepomuceno said they discovered two new additional HIV patients this year in Surigao City. Both of them are male students at a local college.
She added that two persons also tested positive of HIV at the Caraga Regional Hospital this year.
“Their blood samples were taken to Manila for further laboratory examinations but they got positive at our laboratory,” she said.
She said the two persons may have tried to donate blood at the blood bank in Surigao City.
Dr. Romulo Ybiernas, a private doctor who actively supports campaigns on HIV awareness in the city, said he believes several people are not aware that they are infected with the disease.
“Having risky behavior is among the common factors why they got inflected with it,” he said.
Ybiernas said HIV is prevalent in males who have sex with males.
He said people should not be afraid to undergo HIV testing and urged people to avail of the free HIV test at the City Health Office. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)