ZAMBOANGA CITY, Jan. 27 (PIA) — Men having sex with Men (MSM) tops the Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) registry list as cause of the / Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) cases in the region.
"Patients afflicted with HIV/AIDS are as young as 16 and as old as 52 years old. MSM group tops the list of highest vulnerability among the groups of heterosexuals, partners of an injecting drug user (IDU), sex worker, gang/rape victims, HIV + partners and OFWs,” the Department of Health-9 disclosed through HIV-AIDS coordinator Clarissa Jose.
To date, there are 28 HIV cases in Zamboanga City including those registered at the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) treatment hub. Out of the 28 cases, 18 are from Zamboanga City while eight are transients.
Most of them are “halaws" – a term referred to Filipinos who come back to the country from Malaysia through the “back door” or the Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi exit routes. Other victims were identified through blood donation activities. Death toll due to AIDS now records at eight.
Jose says, “that vulnerability of areas to STD/ HIV/AIDS are due to many factors and some of them such as military installations, accessibility to transportation outlets (land, sea, air), presence of entertainment establishments, migration, poverty and tourists (local and foreign) and geographical location like proximity to neighboring countries,”; and these are all present in Zamboanga City,
“This also explains why not all the 28 recorded cases of HIV/AIDS at the City Health Office are all residents of Zamboanga City.
Dr. Aristides Tan, DOH-IX regional director pointed out, “the importance of the role of local chief executives and stakeholders in the community in their fight to protect their people being inflected by the disease."
UNDP country director for the Philippines, Renaud Meyer expressed the firm belief of the United Nations that, “The key to achieving the Millennium Development Goal is through the localization of responses.” (PIA9/Zbga City/N.B.Edaga)