Alarming: 12 HIV cases a day in PH

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The health department says this is the highest daily rate since government began monitoring HIV cases in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – An average of 12 HIV/AIDS cases are reported daily in the Philippines since January 2013, the highest daily rate since the government began monitoring the disease in 1984, health officials said.

Health Assistant Secretary Dr Eric Tayag said Friday, March 1 that these amounted to 380 new cases as of February 28. A total of 25 of these are already AIDS cases, he added.

“(This is) the most number of new cases per month since 1984 (when the government registry started). The cumulative total is now at 12,082,” he told reporters. Last year, the department monitored an average of 9 cases a day.

According to Tayag, 61% percent of the 380 cases involve Filipinos aged 20 to 29 years old. Of the total cases, 25 are women. “Our young today are reckless and don’t seem to care about risks. If you can’t be faithful to one partner or abstain, at least you should learn to use condoms,” Tayag said.

The registry showed that the 380 cases were 79% higher than the 212 cases recorded in January last year. A total of 311 or 82% of the cases involve males having sex with other males (MSM).

Tayag said the MSM usually engage in sexual contacts at home without using protection. Many MSM, he claimed, usually do not undergo HIV testing for fear of being stigmatized.

The registry showed that sexual contacts have accounted for 374 cases while the mode of transmission for the 4 other cases was “needle sharing among injecting drug users.”

Most of the new cases came from Metro Manila (48%); Calabarzon (15%); Central Luzon (9%); Davao (8%) and Central Visayas (6%).

The registry showed that 37 of the 380 tested positive for HIV are overseas Filipino workers.

The report showed that since 1984, the DOH has monitored 12,082 HIV cases. At least 1,194 of these cases have progressed into AIDS. Death toll is at 353, Tayag said.

Commercial sex workers were the leading contributors to the country’s HIV/AIDS cases until 5 years ago when the trend shifted to MSM.

HIV/AIDS experts have blamed this largely on social networking sites which make it easier for the MSM to get in touch with their sexual contacts. –

Couple and ribbon image via Shutterstock

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