Boy infected by mom dies of AIDS

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A 7-year-old boy who got infected with HIV while still in his mother's womb died of the AIDS virus in January 2012

MANILA, Philippines – A 7-year-old boy who got infected with HIV while still in his mother’s womb died of the AIDS virus in January 2012.

The boy was among the 4 new AIDS cases recorded by the Department of Health for the month. His death raised the country’s death toll from the dreaded disease since 1984 to 342, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday, March 7.

The Philippines is one in seven countries that, defying global trends, reported more than 25-percent increase in new infections from 2001 to 2009.

Failure by government to allot additional resources to prevention programs have previously been cited as one of the reasons behind the rise in number of cases. 

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) earlier noted that while the “tipping point” for HIV/AIDS is 80-percent coverage of vulnerable population,  the Philippines is only able to cover less than 50 percent.

Still rising

Based on the DOH’s Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry, there were 208 new HIV infections in Jan. 2012.  This is 39 percent higher than the 152 cases during the same period in 2011.

Transmission is particularly high among the population of “males having sex with other males (MSMs), which account for 90% of cases. 

The ages of the newly infected is also getting younger, with the median age at 27 years (age range:7-56 years) and the age group of 20-29 year-olds accounting for bulk (61%) of the most number of cases, the DOH reported.

Geographically, Metro Manila accounted for 123 cases, followed by Region 4-A, Region 3, Region 11, Region 6 and Region 7.

Apart from MSMs, Overseas Filipino Workers are among the demographic groups where a rise in HIV infections have been observed. Thirty two of the cumulative 212 cases in Jan. 2012 were overseas Filipino workers who all acquired the virus through sexual contact (4 heterosexual, 12 homosexual, and 16 bisexual). Two of them were females.

From 1984 to 2012, the DOH had recorded 8,576 HIV cases, including 975 AIDS. Bulk of this number (7,093 cases) were males.

The ages ranged from 1-73 years with 29 as the median age. The age groups with the most number of cases were: 20-24 years (20%), 25-29 (27%) and 30-34 years (19%).

Sexual contact remains the primary cause of infection. 

Of the 8,576 infected with HIV from 1984 to 2012, 92% (7,854) were infected through sexual contact.

For other cases, infection resulted from needle sharing among injecting drug users (268 or 3% of total cases);  mother-to-child transmission (56 cases or 1% of total); and blood transfusion (accounting for for 20 cases or <1% of total cases). 

The health department said it has no data on how infection occurred for the other 375 cases (4 % of total). –

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