AIDS cases to rise 500% by 2015, says DOH

Published by rudy Date posted on May 23, 2011

The  number of AIDS cases will rise to more than 30,000 in 2015 or five times the current number of cases, a health official said last week.

Health Undersecretary Dr. Enrique Tayag cited figures from the National Epidemiology of the Philippines that showed 6,498 AIDS cases from 1984 to March 2011.

In an AIDS seminar for media last week, Tayag warned that the numbers will increase if programs are not implemented to stem the increase.

Dr. Ofelia Monzon, pioneer of HIV-AIDS research in the country, said the figures presented by health authorities only show those who have undergone examinations.

“These are not the numbers. We do not know the extent of AIDS figures in the Philippines just like in other countries,” she said.

Tayag said the Department of Health (DOH) is intensifying its education and awareness campaign to the public.

The AIDS media seminar held in Tagaytay was sponsored by the Aids Society of the Philippines.

About 483 HIV cases were already recorded by the National Epidemiology Center this year.

In Cebu, Tayag said 53 percent of intravenous drug users (IDU) tested positive of HIV-AIDS.

Other causes for the spread of HIV in Cebu are freelance female sex workers (FFSW) at 5.5 percent and  men having sex with men (MSM) at 4.7 percent.

Cebu City realigned at least P25 million of its annual budget for 2011 to finance the HIV prevention program.

“MSM has already become a norm in our society,” Tayag said.

Tayag said social hygiene clinics should be set up in place for the early detection and treatment of HIV.

The country currently has 14 HIV-testing facility managed by the government nationwide, including Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu.

The 14 treatment hubs offer anti-retro viral treatment to patients with AIDS and HIV.

Dr. Jose Gerard Belimac, program manager of the DOH Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC), said they are also expanding government programs to halt HIV.

He said they are coordinating with local government units to implement HIV-AIDS awareness programs.

Belimac said these programs are also geared towards removing the stigma and discrimination of AIDS victims.

Belimac said they are also hopeful that the PhilHealth Benefit Package for HIV will be enacted by government this year. –Candeze R. Mongaya, Cebu Daily News

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