How certain are you that the person you are sharing bed with is not one of them?
At least 151 Boholanos have tested positive for the dreaded Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) while another 23 are confirmed persons with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
And sharing bed with these persons exposes one to the risks of getting the virus, which does not reveal any indications of it getting inside your body until it has completely destroyed your body’s defences until a simple infection leads to incurability and most often, death.
This data came as shared by the Department of Health (DOH) during the recent Kapihan sa PIA which ushers in the reinvigorated campaign to keep Boholanos away from the risky behaviours that are the most common modes of transmission of the virus.
The date also came in time, when the entire world commemorates December 1 as World AIDS Day.
By risky behaviour, health authorities mean not being mutually faithful to the partner and going all out in unprotected sex, sharing needles and using infected injection needles.
Another mode of transmissions is when a mother has the virus, she may pass it unsuspectingly to the infant.
The virus, or HIV is a kind of virus that mimics the body’s “soldiers cells” that acts as its defense forces, simplifies simplified nurse at the Provincial Health Office (PHO) Milagros Israel.
Israel who also sits as provincial HIV AIDS coordinator added that by so doing, the body’s soldier cells can no longer distinguish which are foreign viruses.
The virus then attacks the body’s immune system and weakens people’s defence systems against infections.
As the virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, infected individuals gradually become immune-deficient, that is; they become susceptible to a wide range of infections, and other diseases that people with healthy immune systems can fight off.
The most advanced stage of HIV infection is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which can take from 2 to 15 years to develop, according to World Health Organization (WHO).
This happens when the person living with HIV (PLHIV) develops certain incurable cancers, infections, or other severe clinical manifestations, which lead to death, WHO added.
Transmitted through exchange of bodily fluids, blood transfusion or use of infected needles as well as mother to infant, HIV, once its gets inside the body would cause opportunistic infections, Israel said.
With the Bohol figure a thing that people are getting wary about, observers feared that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
DOH nurse Nickson Felix Epe revealed that the Philippines has been identified by the United Nations as the country with the highest new AIDS cases and Region 7 as the regions with the highest cumulative cases.
As of May 2017, Region 7 records 90 cases in a month, and 182 of these PLHIV are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
By law however, the identities of these persons are treated with confidentiality.
One thing that further exposes Boholanos to the disease is the mobility or people in Bohol, Epe commented.
He means OFWs who may have contracted the virus in their sexual exploits abroad may bring it in, or foreign tourists who may have the virus could pass it to an unsuspecting sexual partner in Bohol.
The only way one can determine positively that he has the virus is when he undergoes a quick HIV test, which is free service from any government facility, AIDS advocates said.
While there is no law that forces one to a mandatory HIV testing, a voluntary trip to the test centers could be the only secure way of knowing one has none such risk and by living in fidelity with a common partner, he reduces the risk of getting his loved ones in danger.(rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)