The Department of Health (DOH) has identified six Philippine cities that can reach “uncontrollable levels” of HIV infections in a few years if the public doesn’t cooperate, Rappler reports.
DOH’s National HIV/STI Prevention Program manager Dr. Jose Gerard Belimac made the announcement during the agency’s epidemiology workshop.
Among the cities with “concentrated HIV epidemic” are Quezon City (6.6%), Manila (6.7%), Caloocan (5.3%), Cebu (7.7%), Davao (5.0%), and Cagayan de Oro (4.7%).
Other high risk areas in the country include the National Capital Region; San Jose del Monte, Bulacan; Antipolo; Cainta; Bacoor; Imus; Dasmarinas; and Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Caloocan, which has a high HIV prevalence rate, was deemed as the “most problematic” city. Most infections occur among male sex workers.
Belimac explained in his presentation, “According to [the World Health Organization], ‘pag lumagpas yan ng 5% in a matter of two years’ time, the HIV in these areas will really be uncontrollable already so lesson learned, huwag po talagang hayaan na umabot ng 5% yung HIV prevalence in any of the cities.”
(According to the World Health Organization, if the rate exceeds 5%, in a matter of two years’ time, the HIV in these areas will really be uncontrollable already so lesson learned, let us not allow the HIV rate to reach 5% in any of the cities.)
A total of 748 new cases of HIV infections were documented in May, according to GMA News. It is regarded as the country’s highest on record since 1984.
Currently, the DOH is conducting bio-medical, behavioral, and structural measures to control HIV infections among Filipino males who have sex with males (MSM).
Featured image credits to Rappler.