(Contributed photo)

BAGUIO CITY – The city's advocacy body on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has raised alarm amid an increase in cases of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in this summer capital.

"As of August 2022, there were 544 active cases recorded," Dr. Celiaflor Brillantes, assistant city health officer and action officer of the city's AIDS Watch Council (AWC), said in a phone interview Wednesday.

This is a sharp rise from 122 active cases recorded in May this year, based on earlier data provided by the city's Health Services Office (HSO).

A further leap in cases was noted during the pandemic when the HSO started to resume the conduct of free HIV testing by putting up booths in events and venues frequented by the public.

In an earlier interview, Brillantes was quoted saying that HSO data showed an additional 13 new cases were tested to be "reactive" during the Baguio Flower Festival 2022.

"Measures should be done to prevent the further increase in cases," she said.

The AWC, under the HSO, wants guidelines finalized to implement the policies and guidelines for an intensified approach to testing, treatment, and monitoring for HIV AIDS through a program implementation review, strategic planning, and implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

The establishment of treatment hubs is also in the plan.

The AWC is a multi-sectoral body composed of representatives from the city government and the private sector aiming to raise awareness of the disease. It is currently chaired by Mayor Benjamin Magalong. (PNA)