HIV cases rising among homosexual men in Baguio

BAGUIO CITY — The city government is initiating a ceremony of lighting candles on Thursday, May 24, to make residents become aware of what it describes as continuous increase in cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) here.

This, as the city discovered 10 more people infected with HIV in the past several months of this year alone. All of them are men having sex with men, revealed Cristina Juan, a nurse at the City Social Hygiene Clinic, in a press conference here on Tuesday.

Juan said this brings to 30 the total HIV cases found by the city so far. The 20 others were detected to have HIV last year and are now undergoing medications.

“We hope that we will be able to gather the support of our city officials and residents in the annual candle-lighting ceremony for us to remember those who have already gone ahead of us because of the dreaded illness and those who are currently infected with the illness,” she said, urging residents and concerned sectors to support the city’s various programs and interventions to get rid of the virus for good.

Juan said the city continuously enhances its massive information and education campaign, especially among high-risk sectors, to prevent cases of the dreaded illness from going out of control.

She said the city government is espousing healthy practices and safe sex.

The city nurse noted that while the HIV cases among men having sex with men are rising, cases of commercial sex workers infected with HIV are on a downtrend.

She attributed this to the interventions by the local health department, particularly the conduct of weekly health checkups among at-risk women, aside from informing them of the risks of the sex trade.

Juan said unprotected sex and having multiple partners raise the risk of contracting the dreaded disease. She said the city government is urging people engaging in these unsafe practices to have regular medical checkups. Pamela Mariz Geminiano/