By Maolen Oledan-Estomagulang/Davao Today Intern
DAVAO CITY – Nathaniel David, 30, appeared in a press conference, Monday to admit that he has the dreaded HIV-AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome ) since 2010.
David is now with Mindanao’s Advocate Association Inc. (MAAI), an advocacy organization composed of people who have HIV-AIDS.
“After I was diagnosed, I chose to come out to educate other people about HIV and AIDS.” David said.
As of September this year, there are 1,014 persons living with HIV and AIDS in Davao. A 17-year old male was the youngest among those who have the HIV.
With this alarming rate, various sectors are pushing for education and awareness about the disease.
The city joined the 26th World AIDS Day with a theme “Getting to Zero” Monday, December 1.
The City Health Office (CHO) said that 90% of the infection involve men who had sex with men.
HIV is a virus that causes AIDS; it attacks and destroys the immune system making the body susceptible to infection. It only survives in human body and can be transmitted through unprotected sex, direct contact with blood and perinatal (mother to child) transmission.
The Philippines recorded 20,989 cases of HIV Virus in 2014 as reported by the National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health (DOH). 80% of it were asymptomatic and 1,912 of the total figure were AIDS.
Dr. Jordana Ramittere, head of the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) of the Davao City Health Office said that Region XI contributes six to eight percent of the cases every month.
She said that there is an increase of HIV cases in the city since there are people who got their self-tested.
Meanwhile, Alma Mondragon from Alliance Against AIDS (Alagad) – Mindanao, and a member of the Davao City Aids council said “we can determine if a certain person have HIV only if he or she will get tested.”
“The antibody test is done to determine a person’s HIV status. Screening test is done locally while confirmatory test is done only in Manila,” Mondragon said. (davaotoday.com)