Men-with-men relationship 'at risk' of HIV

Published: November 2, 2011

MEN who have sex with men (MSM) bear a disproportionately higher burden of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection than having sex with prostituted women, a health official said.

Dr. Joey Retuya, head of the Surveillance Department of the City Health Office (CHO), said the MSM trending is not only in the city nor in the Philippines but international as well.

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“Whether cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the city reach 1,000, it does not matter. What matters is that the transmission is present in the area. But we don’t have to worry as long as we are able to communicate this to our constituents and inform them of our advocacy in preventing the spread of HIV,” Retuya told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

In Cagayan de Oro, 22 of the 23 HIV carriers recorded are males.

For the first time in decades, cases of HIV, which causes the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Aids), has reached double figure in Cagayan de Oro.

The Department of Health (DOH) recorded six HIV/Aids cases in 2008, nine in 2009, 14 in 2010, and 23 this year with an astonishing 50 percent increase.

Though not confirming directly as to the number of HIV-positive in the city, Retuya emphasized that CHO’s partners are now taking care of the treatment and monitoring of these people.

Retuya reiterated their advocacy and encouraged the public to cooperate and observe the ABCD approach in preventing HIV/Aids.

The ABCD approach means to Abstain from sexual intercourse; Be faithful and eliminate casual partners; use Condoms not for birth control but for preventive measure; and Do not use drugs or share needles.

“We also encourage having tests for sexually transmitted infections as early as possible, especially those who are engaged in MSM,” Retuya added.

He also said that since transmission is here, the support of the public is much needed, adding the fight against HIV cannot be done by CHO, DOH, or by any non-government organization alone.

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