HIV alert up in Puerto Galera

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

THE Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday raised the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) alert in popular destination Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro amid the expected influx of local and foreign tourists there.

In a statement, DOH–Mimaropa Director Eduardo Janairo said the public must take note of the "major concern" over HIV in Puerto Galera.

"Puerto Galera is listed as a Category C Area, where there is higher risk of HIV spread," said Janairo.

Because of this, the health official said tourists going to Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro must refrain from having unprotected sex and other activities that may bring the risks of acquiring HIV.

"HIV is preventable like most diseases… The best way is through safe practice of informed individuals," said Janairo.

Janairo said there are only four ways a person can get the HIV virus, namely sexual contact (heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual), needle sharing among injecting drug users, mother-to-child transmission, and blood transfusion with an infected person.

Also, he pointed that considered as high-risk groups for HIV are the female sex workers (FSWs), males having sex with males (MSMs), injecting drug users (IDUs), and overseas foreign workers (OFWs).

The DOH has repeatedly promoted abstinence from sex, having only one sex partner, use of condoms, and avoiding the sharing needles/syringes, as best ways to avoid HIV/AIDS.

Based on the February 2014 Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry Report of the DOH, there are a total of 486 new HIV cases.

The figure is 43 percent higher compared to the same period last year, which has 339 cases. (HDT/Sunnex)

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