Just recently, this photo of HIV cases has been making the rounds:
While this was apparently taken from a seminar, the 4800% has yet to be confirmed. However, this does reflect an undeniable truth: HIV cases have come to an all-time high in the Philippines, just when about every country in the world has been battling the virus.
The Philippines has quite an alarming figure: the country currently has the fastest-growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region, with a 140 percent increase in the number of infections.
According to the Department of Health, 10,500 Filipinos were recorded to be infected with with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) at the end of 2016. That’s way higher than the recorded number of 4,300 in 2010. In April 2017, 629 people were diagnosed with HIV, 80 percent of whom were millennials. And this only accounts for those cases that have been diagnosed and documented — in fact, the number of people actually living with HIV that have gone undiagnosed could very possibly be higher.
This is such an alarming rate and yet, there is still so much stigma that surrounds the talk of HIV/AIDS, mostly because of how we view HIV/AIDS and sexual health in general. Out of the 624 cases diagnosed this year, 513 of those belonged to those who fell between 15 to 34 years old.
The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is a virus that weakens one’s immune system, which is our natural defense against illnesses.
Here are just some myths about HIV that need to be dispelled, now:
3. Only gay people and sex workers can contract HIV
HIV isn’t a “gay-only” disease, nor is it a “sakit ng mga malalandi”. HIV can be transmitted through the following bodily fluids: blood, semen (including pre-ejaculate), vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, and breast milk. Hence, even heterosexuals are at the risk of contracting HIV.
That being said, this doesn’t mean that this gives you an excuse to discriminate people with an HIV-positive status. Ways you CANNOT get HIV: By hugging, kissing, and sharing food with an HIV-positive person, as the amount of HIV in saliva is too small to transmit the virus.
2. A person who isn’t sexually active can’t possibly get HIV
Sexual contact is not the only way to transmit HIV. Needle-injecting drug users and healthcare workers who get the blood of HIV-infected patients inside them are at risk of contracting the virus. Mother-to-child transmission is also possible.
1. You can tell the symptoms of HIV
The symptoms of HIV vary from person to person, and some people may not even show symptoms. The only real way to know whether you have HIV is through testing.
Tag a friend and spread awareness!