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PIA Press Release

Bicol accounts for 1% of HIV/AIDS cases in RP

by AB Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY (2 December) -- Of the 2,354 cumulative HIV/AIDS cases in the Philippines from January 1994 to September 2005, Bicol accounts for only 25 or 1.1 per cent, the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) said.

Dr. Alan Lucaņas, DOH-CHD Bicol regional HIV coordinator, said 7 out of these 25 HIV carriers in the region are already dead. "With age groups ranging from 4-59 years old, 18 of these HIV victims are still alive."

The breakdown of cases per province, 10 cases are from Camarines Sur, Albay had 8, Sorsogon - 3, Camarines Norte - 2, and 1 case each from Catanduanes and Masbate, according to Lucaņas.

The major national mode of transmission, as he explained further, is sexual intercourse with 86 per cent of the total prevalence while only a few are caused by blood transmission, prenatal origins and needle sharing among drug users.

Lucaņas also bared that on the national cumulative figure, 797 (34 per cent) of those afflicted are OFWs. "Some 232 are seafarers, 132 are domestic helpers, 69 are foreign employees, 66 are health workers and 62 victims are entertainers."

Yesterday's observance of World AIDS Day in the province of Albay was led by the City Health Offices (CHOs) of Legazpi and Tabaco.

With the theme "Stop AIDS, Keep the Promise", Dr. Sarah Vasquez, officer-in-charge of Legazpi CHO bared thast the activity that will start with a walk-through from Sta. Teresita Hospital in Barangay Cabangan to Peņaranda Park at the Albay District which will be participated in by the schools, NGOs, night establishment employees including its guest relations officers (GROs).

"A short program at the Peņaranda Park shall follow afterwhich an information caravan will start from the City Hall to the Pacific Mall here where the anti-HIV/AIDS virus advocacy program shall be led by the NGOs."

Likewise, the Tabaco CHO, headed by Dr. Audwin Asada, will conduct a conference-seminar at Bicol University Tabaco Campus wherein the NGOs, TLF, Tabaco AIDS Council and some nightclub representatives are expected to give situationers and come-up with anti-AIDS advocacy plans.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic has reportedly been spreading across Asia and the Pacific, including China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia through drug use and prostitution.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) some five million people worldwide were needlessly infected last year, adding to the 40 million already living with the virus.

The United Nations has set number of goals in response to this epidemic including reversing the prevalence by 2015 by providing antiretroviral treatment to HIV victims in developing countries. Despite this, WHO said the initiative is still short of its target. (PIA) [top]

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