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DOH registers 841 new HIV cases in June 2016

MANILA--A total of 841 new HIV cases were reported for the sixth month of 2016 in the latest HIV/AIDS Registry of the Philippines (HARP), bringing to an average of 26 the number of people diagnosed with HIV per day in the country from just an average of four in 2010, nine in 2012 and 17 in 2014.



“This is the highest number of cases ever reported since 1984,” the DOH report said, adding that the figure was also nine percent higher compared to the same period last year, which was at 772.

The report also pointed that of the HIV cases in June 2016, a total of 104 developed into full-blown AIDS cases.

There were also 63 deaths recorded from HIV/AIDS in June 2016 alone. Of these, 60 were males and three were females. Thirty-four of them belonged to the 25-34 age group; 16 to the 35-49 age group; and 13 to the 15-24 age group.

A total of 1,822 HIV/AIDS deaths were reported from January 1984 to June 2016.

Of the 841 new cases of HIV in June, a total of 777 or 92 percent were acquired through sexual transmission, mostly from the men-having-sex-with-men (MSM) population, which accounted for 690 cases or 89 percent.

Homosexual contact was responsible for 403 cases; followed by bisexual contact with 287 cases. There were 87 cases from heterosexual contact.

Injecting drug use (IDU) accounted for the transmission of 60 new cases; while the remaining four cases were mother-to-child transmission.

Moreover, the figures indicated that the proportion of HIV positive cases are getting younger in the 15-24 age group, which increased from 25 percent in 2006-2010 to 28 percent in 2011-2016. Between 2001 and 2005, it was 35-49 years. In 2006, it has become 25-34 years.

The figure also indicated that cases of HIV transmission from mother-to-child is more likely to increase if female patients are not linked to HIV care.

Ninety-two percent or 2,414 of all female cases were diagnosed in the 15-49 age bracket.

In the early years of the HIV/AIDs epidemic (1984-1990, 62 percent (133 of 216 cases) were females.

From 1991 to the present, males comprised 92 percent (32,288) of the total number of HIV/AIDS cases in the Philippines.

A total of 64 new cases among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), meanwhile, have been reported, with all coming from sexual transmission.

The regions with the highest number of reported cases for June 2016 were the National Capital Region (NCR) with 335 cases (40%); Calabarzon with 126 cases (15%); Central Visayas, 121 cases (14%); Central Luzon, 57 cases (7%); and Davao Region, 46 cases (5%).

Since 1984, there were already 34,999 HIV cases recorded in the country, including 3,174 AIDS cases and 1,822 deaths.

To prevent HIV/AIDS, the DOH has been advising the people to observe the “ABCDE” campaign.

The campaign stands for Abstain from sex; Be faithful to your partners; Consistently use condoms; Do not use illegal drugs; and E educate yourself.

In addition, as part of “educating one's self,” the DOH encourages those who practice unprotected sex with different partners, or have partners having sex with different partners, MSMs, those who have history of sexually transmitted disease before, engaged in IDU or transmitted with unsure blood source, to seek the free HIV testing in the nearest Social Hygiene Clinics nationwide for voluntary testing and counselling. Such testing and counselling are confidential.

If the test yields positive, the person will be assured that help is coming because there is a program designed for them.

If the test, on the other hand, yields negative, the person who has undergone the counselling can help a lot in ensuring that he/she will not become a source to spread the HIV/AIDS. (By Leilani S. Junio PNA)

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