Everyone needs to undergo a regular HIV test especially those with multiple sex partners or engage in unprotected sex.
This was given emphasis by Grace Guevara, medical technologist II, who performs human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) tests at the LGU Naga’s HIV Testing Center. She issued the warning in view of the alarming HIV cases which are in upward trend.
Guevara said that in the midst of the Covid 19 crisis, HIV may not be the top of mind. But everyone has to ensure that they got the needed services most of the time like the test to see to it that they are free from HIV. “The current pandemic has not stopped it,” she said.
In 2020, the center has recorded 40 individuals who were tested positive for HIV. The figure, however, doesn’t belong to patients living in Naga City alone as the center also accommodates referrals from other LGUs and conducts tests on individuals coming from different places in the Bicol Region.
From January to March (as of press time on Wednesday), the testing center has recorded 14 new cases of HIV.
Guevara said that “out of that number, 8 were from different towns but are working in private offices and establishments in the city.
Guevara also called on individuals who have multiple sex partners to be responsible enough by way of voluntarily submitting themselves to HIV tests. “But undergoing a regular HIV test does not mean that you will be spared from getting the virus,” she said.
She said unprotected sex must be avoided by using condoms or by abstinence. “In 2020, I knew of persons who religiously underwent regular HIV tests but, at the later part of the year, they were found out to be HIV positive.
The 4 ways how HIV is transmitted, according to Guevara: Unsafe or unprotected sex, exposure to infected blood and blood products, and mother-to-child transmission.
MSM also known as males who have sex with males are male persons who engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex, regardless of how they identify themselves. They may identify as gay, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, or heterosexual; or dispense with sexual identification altogether.
A research site, Hindawi Journal, said recent data show a trend of increase in HIV cases among MSM in Asia, Africa, South America, and Eastern Europe. China is one of the countries facing the challenge of an emerging HIV epidemic in MSM.
In China, rates of HIV infection in injecting drug users have fallen, remained stable and at low levels in female sex workers, but markedly increased in MSM. The latest national report revealed that the proportion of newly diagnosed HIV cases due to male homosexual contact has increased from 12.2% in 2007 to 32.5% in 2009.