By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The increasing number of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) has diagnosed maybe shocking news but it also is a good indicator that more and more people are now aware enough to seek medical assistance.
BGHMC chair of HIV and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Core Team Dr. Maria Lorena Santos said that while it is sad news that there is an increase in the number of HIV cases that they have recorded, they are glad in a way because they are able to arrest such cases and have brought in the patients under medical assistance and monitoring.
She said however that there are still many people suspecting they are infected with HIV who are not yet convinced to approach the BGHMC for check-up and proper detection.
When a person catches HIV, his immune system – the body’s protective mechanism against diseases – breaks down. According to Santos, a person cannot be considered infected by HIV until he undergoes a check-up.
She added that it is why undergoing a check-up is very important for persons who have assumptions or suspicions of having contracted HIV.
The common symptoms of HIV are swollen glands in the armpit, groin or in the throat. Early symptoms include severe headaches, sudden fatigue and muscle pains.
Santos, however, said that the presence of these symptoms does not mean the persons already has the HIV. She stressed it is best for them to go to the testing centers.
According to Santos, from May 2006 until July 31, this year, BGHMC has already catered to 261 HIV cases. She said that from January to July, they already received 60 new cases compared to last year’s 21 new cases.
She said that as of now, they have discovered only 29 positive HIV cases.
She said that it is unfortunate to hear such but it is the reality that has to be dealt with.
According to Santos, the age of persons having HIV cases range from 20 to 35 years old, which she added obviously is the age when people are usually sexually active. She said that they come from the Cordillera Region and from as far as Cagayan Valley.
She said that there is a 19-year-old being monitored for possible HIV infection.
She also said that it is sad to know that there are three children who are HIV-positive. The youngest, she said, is only over 12 months old.
Santos said they are grateful that non-government organizations (NGOs) and advocates are coordinating with BGHMC as a national treatment hub.
She however admitted to sometimes cater to the requests or activities with the groups, as they lack personnel.
She calls on persons who have symptoms or suspect they have contracted HIV to avail of the free services at the BGHMC.
Santos said that they can be assured that their cases and their identities will be treated with confidentiality. #nordis.net