Palawan has maintained its first spot among provinces in the MIMAROPA Region with the highest number of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive individuals for the first six months of the year.
Regina Villapa, City Health Office (CHO) medical technologist for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), said during the Kapihan sa PIA on Thursday that there are 389 cases recorded in Palawan, including the 240 in Puerto Princesa City from January to June this year.
MIMAROPA region has a total of 805 cases.
She said around 90 percent of the HIV cases in Palawan are male-to-male, while there are also minimal cases of mother-to-child transmission.
“But, just a clarification na hindi palibhasa tumaas ang kaso ay negatibo ang ibig sabihin bagkus ito ay nagpapatunay na marami ng nagpapa-test despite of the stigma,” Villapa said.
She said that it is higher compared to more than 30 cases last year, but indicates that the programs are being implemented effectively.
“Sobra talaga ang itinaas kasi ang 389 ngayon ay as of June lang pero ang more than 30 ay buong taon na ‘yon last year. Kaya nga we urge the public na ‘wag tingnan ang bilang kasi mas maganda ang nangyayari kasi it shows na effective ang mga programs natin hindi katulad noong mga nakaraang taon na kunti lang kasi nahihiya sila at nandiyan ang stigma kapag HIV positive patient ka,” Villapa said.
In order to address the global epidemic, she said the national government stepped up its campaign against the transmitted disease through the Republic Act 8504 otherwise known as the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998, the country s response to HIV/AIDS is now strengthened and concretized as amended by Republic Act 11166.
She said that there is some reorganization in other rules and membership of the National HIV Council to address the increasing number of positive patients.
“Nagkaroon ng amendment sa batas na ‘yan kasi gusto natin mapalakas ang campaign against HIV kaya kung mapapansin ninyo na tumaas ay dahil lumalaki at natututukan ng husto ang ating mga kababayan na dati ay walang access sa services,” Villapa said.
Meanwhile, in connection with World AIDS Day, there will be an activity at Puerto Princesa City Baywalk on December 6 at 7:30 p.m.