1 HIV positive every 35 minutes in South Cotabato

Koronadal City—Every 35 minutes, one person is added on the list of people living with HIV in South Cotabato, Program Focal Person John Codilla confirmed in an interview.

“There are 71 new cases of HIV in the province since January to March 8,” Codilla said.

In January, the center reported 21 new cases; 29 cases in February and 71 cases in March.

“We have an average of three to four new cases per day this quarter,” he said.

There were three females on the list and, one person acquired the disease through drug injection. But, three persons died because of HIV this first quarter, he revealed.

“We recommended a drug rehabilitation to one of our patients. We fear he might introduce this kind of transmission if we would not treat his addiction first,” Codilla explained.

Meanwhile, HIV among minors is increasing. The youngest on the list is a 13-year old.

“Thanks to the new law where minors don’t need to get parent’s consent whenever they wanted to get themselves screened,” Codilla said.

Codilla pushed for integration of HIV education as part of health and science subject for he believes continued education will change a certain behavior.

Based on a report, 85 percent of persons with HIV in South Cotabato are not in the advanced stage of HIV infection while 94 percent have an undetectable infection.

The HACT Clinic in South Cotabato uses social media to track, link, retain HIV positive, underserved, underinsured, hard-to-reach youth and young adults in HACT Clinic.

“These are system approaches utilizing a variety of social media, internet, and mobile-based technologies to improve engagement and retention,” Codilla beamed happily.

As the only LGU to pilot this project, the World Health Organization initiated the visit of foreign counterparts to see the best practices of South Cotabato.

“It is connected to the center and also on my cellphone. This app will remind the center that a patient has only two meds in the last two days,” he said.

Social media interventions will focus on youth and young adults living with HIV who are aware of their HIV infection status but, have never been engaged in care; are aware but have refused referral to care, have dropped out of care, are infected with HIV but, are unaware of their HIV status, or have not achieved viral suppression.