In a recent report posted on the Inquirer website, physician and medical anthropologist Gideon Lasco wrote these alarming words: “The Philippines has one of the fastest growing rates of HIV/AIDS infection in the world.”
This news comes as a surprise for some, especially considering the fact that HIV cases have decreased by 35% since 2000 on a global scale. Sad to say, HIV/AIDS cases are increasing in the country.
Back in 2008,Philippines only had 1 new case but as of present time, there are already up to 21 new cases a day. Lasco further specified, “An astounding 53 percent of injecting drug users in Cebu are HIV-positive.”
To make matters worse, Lasco said that these figures “may very likely be understated because they only account for people who have actually been tested for HIV/AIDS.”
In April 2015, the Philippine HIV and AIDS registry recorded 24,936 cases but if Lasco is to be believed, that scary statistic isn’t the whole picture yet. It may be nothing but the tip of the iceberg.
“We can no longer be in denial about the gravity of the problem. Although the absolute number of HIV cases remains low, the rate of increase (>25 percent) means that we are headed toward a full-blown epidemic, the economic and social costs of which would be catastrophic. The Department of Health estimates that just paying for treatments alone will cost the government P4 billion by 2022.”
What Is HIV/AIDS?
If left untreated HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
According to AIDS.gov, “Unlike some other viruses, the human body can’t get rid of HIV completely. So once you have HIV, you have it for life.”
Currently, there is no proven cure for HIV yet but proper treatment and medical care can be helpful in controlling it.
“The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested,” the website specified. “Testing is relatively simple. You can ask your health care provider for an HIV test. Many medical clinics, substance abuse programs, community health centers, and hospitals offer them too.”