By LITO RULONA
COUNCILOR Maria Lourdes Gaane yesterday sounded alarm bells again after Cagayan de Oro ranked No. 2 in the list of cities in the country with the most number of cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (Aids).
Gaane also expressed disappointment because Cagayan de Oro topped the regional list released by the health department in April.
Gaane said there are three to four suspected HIV-Aids cases being reported in the city daily, pointing out the need for more information campaign efforts.
“This is alarming,” said Gaane. But she noted that many of those found positive for HIV and Aids were not really from the city.
“It doesn’t follow that all come from Cagayan de Oro,” said Gaane, adding that the city has become a treatment hub for HIV and Aids patients through screening stations at the City Healh Office, and the state-owned Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC).
She said many patients come from other provinces. “Dalhon nila nga sila taga-Cagayan kay dinhi man ang screening. Mo-ingon ko nga taas kaayo ang cases of HIV-Aids dinhi sa Cagayan de Oro kay dinhi sila gi-screen.”
DOH data show that in this city, some 459 HIV/Aids cases have been reported since 2000.
The department said 1,142 HIV cases have been reported in northern Mindanao, the highest of which is Cagayan de Oro City (42 percent), followed by Iligan City (10 percent), Valencia City in Bukidnon (four percent), Ozamiz City in Misamis Occidental and Malaybalay City in Bukidnon (at three percent each).
Gaane, a physician by profession, said data from the DOH also show that HIV cases are prevalent among members of the 15-24 age group.