DENNIS JAMITO

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112 new HIV cases in November

 11 new units of donated blood found HIV positive

A total of 112 new HIV cases were diagnosed in the country in November, up 40 percent compared to the 80 cases reported in the same month of 2009, a member of Congress disclosed Friday.

The fresh cases brought to 1,417 the cumulative number of new HIV cases detected this year, and raised to 5,841 the aggregate number listed in the National HIV and AIDS Registry since passive surveillance of the disease began in 1984, according to Rep. Arnel Ty of party-list group LPGMA.

Citing a Registry report, Ty also said 11 new units of voluntarily donated blood tested HIV positive last month.

This brought to 135 the combined number of donated blood units found HIV-tainted in the 11 months to November, already exceeding by 51 percent the 89 similarly infected units discovered in the 12 months of 2009, Ty said.

“The growing number of new HIV cases and donated blood units found contaminated betrays the creeping spread of the disease in the country,” Ty said.

The new HIV cases diagnosed last month included eight overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Ty said.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines earlier said that OFWs, who now account for one in every four HIV positive Filipinos, are highly susceptible to the virus, as they are exposed to foreign cultures that abet high-risk behavior, including commercial sex sans the use of prophylactics.

Ty pushed for increased government funding for preventive HIV/AIDS education.

“It would be sensible for us to spend a lot more for preventive education now to reduce the future human suffering due to HIV/AIDS, and avoid the potentially larger costs associated with the treatment of more patients,” Ty pointed out.

At the rate new cases are doubling every year, Dr. Edsel Salvana, a specialist in infectious disease medicine, previously warned that by 2015, government would have to spend P1 billion annually just to acquire the anti-retroviral drugs needed to treat HIV positive Filipinos.

The number of HIV cases in the country could reach 46,000 by 2015, unless effective strategies are put in place to check the spread of the disease, according to the Philippine National AIDS Council.

Ty pressed his call for Congress to revisit the 1998 AIDS Prevention and Control Law and reinforce the fight against the highly destructive disease.

In House Resolution 724, Ty cited the need for Congress to ascertain whether existing policies and measures under the 12-year-old law are enough to quell the HIV/AIDS epidemic and improve the conditions of Filipinos living with the disease.

December 24, 2010 - Posted by | National, Unusual

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