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Cebu has most Phl HIV cases among male sexual partners

June 15, 2015 CEBU, Philippines- Cebu City has the highest prevalence rate of human immunodeficiency virus infection, in terms of males who engage in sex with males, among major cities in the country.

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Philstar.com/file

CEBU, Philippines- Cebu City has the highest prevalence rate of human immunodeficiency virus infection, in terms of males who engage in sex with males, among major cities in the country.

The Department of Health-7 noted this in a report Monday during the launching of the agency’s High Impact Five Program.

With this, the regional health department is asking for the active participation of the public through their continuous voluntary HIV testing.

The health department identified the cities and their corresponding prevalence rate among males who have sex with males as the following: Cebu (7.7 percent), Manila (6.7 percent), Quezon City (6.6 percent), Caloocan (5.3 percent), Davao (5.0 percent) and Cagayan de Oro (4.7 percent).

Doctor Jonathan Neil Erasmo, head of the Communicable Diseases Control Section of DOH-7, said the Integrated Health Behavioral and Serologic Surveillance is conducted every two years under the supervision of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, a line division of DOH.

He added that there is an ongoing survey intended for the present record for 2015.

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In 2013, the National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health led the fifth round of the IHBSS in 21 sites among males who have sex with other males.

There were 6,305 males included in the surveillance. The respondents were males 15 years or older, and reported as having oral or anal sex with another male in the past 12 months.

According to the data, the sites were identified as Angeles, Bacoor, Baguio, Batangas, Butuan, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Iloilo, Mandaue, Puerto Princesa, San Jose del Monte, Zamboanga, Caloocan, Makati, Manila, Marikina, Pasay and Quezon.

The same data showed that the national HIV prevalence among males who have sex with other males increased from 1.68 percent in 2011 to 2.93 percent in 2013.

The biennial observation is intended to determine the prevalence of HIV among the key affected populations and the behavioral factors that are associated with HIV transmission and their effects on the HIV epidemic in the country.

The surveillance is also intended to help the formation of HIV intervention programs based on the outcomes and for the creation of strategic information to guide HIV policies, programs and services.

According to the HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines on its April 2015 data, 87 percent of the sexually transmitted cases were among males who have sex with males.

The recent data also showed that there were 560 newly diagnosed cases with HIV recorded nationwide.

With only four newly diagnosed cases reported per day in 2010, it reached to an average of 20 newly diagnosed HIV cases reported each day this year.

DOH then intervened with a free counseling and testing made available for free at selected health centers, clinics and treatment hubs during the recent months.

Erasmo said they wanted to intensify their efforts in promoting the prevention of the spread of HIV infection with early detection of the disease.

DOH-7 will hold a voluntary HIV testing and counseling this June 19, Friday, at the Fuente Osmeña Circle at 6 p.m. onward.

Erasmo said the culminating activity will also stage a mini-concert initiated by the health department in partnership with local government units, non-government organizations, community-based groups and other stakeholders.

With the theme “Get tested,” he added that the nighttime activity will feature local artists and Cebuano disc jockeys

“If you are practicing risky behaviors, we are offering free HIV testing. Once diagnosed as positive, most importantly we have counseling and offer free services such as antiretroviral drugs,” he said. —/BRP (FREEMAN)

Source: http://www.philstar.com/cebu-news/2015/06/15/1466115/cebu-has-most-phl-hiv-cases-among-male-sexual-partners

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