Needle-sharing drug-users hike spread of HIV infection

The threat of getting the dreaded human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) gets heightened as health authorities bared sharing contaminated needles help spread the virus further in the Visayas.

About 90 percent of the new monitored cases in Central Visayas come from sharing of contaminated needles, said nurse Nickson Epe of the Provincial Health Office.

Sharing of needles can happen to drug users who take turns in injecting substances, the threat jumps closer to Boholanos as the supply for sniffed addictive substances become scarcer.

In its reports, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said the recent crackdown against methampethamine hydrochloride or shabu has become increasingly difficult. Drug users are now using an adulterated form of shabu called Titanic. Some are now engaged in injectable drugs, which have become increasingly popular.

The PDEA through agent Chona Egam said the use of Nubain or Nalbuphine sometimes also called shoot has become increasingly popular.

Drug users who share needles are under colossal threat of contracting HIV, which can be transmitted through blood transfusion or through infected needles.

The most common mode of transmission however is through sexual contact with persons living with HIV, said nurse Mila Israel.

Moreover, for users who take drugs with others in a room, the possibility of sexual orgies are possible, thus, unprotected sex rates are high among the modes of transmission.

According to health officials, Central Visayas alone has averaged 90 cases of HIV a month.

Around 151 Boholanos have been tested positive for HIV and some 23 more have been positively identified to have Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, the advanced state of HIV which is always fatal.

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 immune 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 two to 15 years to develop, according to World Health Organization (WHO). (PIA)




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