HIV/AIDS cases surpass 2010 record
MANILA, Philippines - The number of HIV/AIDS cases recorded by the Department of Health (DOH) for the first half of the year already surpassed the number of cases for the entire year of 2010, the health department said Friday, July 27.
Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said that as of June 2012, the Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry recorded 295 new cases of HIV, including 16 AIDS cases. This brought to 1,600 the total number of cases this year.
For the entire year of 2010, the DOH recorded less -- a total of 1,591 HIV/AIDS cases.
If the trend continues, 2012 may end up to be the year with the biggest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the country.
“This is one of the highest monthly new HIV cases in the country. In June, we reported 295 cases, bringing the total to 1,600. We are already more than the 1,591 recorded for the whole year of 2010," Tayag said in a mix of English and Filipino.
The registry showed that the 295 new cases in June were 66% higher than the 178 cases during the same period in 2011. There was one death in June 2012 involving a 35-year-old man.
In March this year, the DOH recorded a total of 313 cases, the highest number ever recorded on a monthly basis since the registry started in 1984.
“What we are alarmed about is that for June, there were additional 20 cases '[related to] injecting drug use (IDU)," Tayag added. Victims who had unsafe sex accounted for 92% of the cases monitored, he said. MSM (men-having-sex-with-men) was the predominant type of sexual transmission for 88% of the cases.
It was in 2009 when the DOH started monitoring a rise in the number of HIV/AIDS cases in Cebu City, and it has not stopped since. In 2007, the DOH noticed a rising trend in the sector of men-having-sex-with-men (MSM).
Since 1984, the DOH has recorded a total of 9,964 cases, including 353 deaths. Of this figure, 1,061 have progressed into AIDS.
Tayag maintained that the gains of the intervention programs put in by the DOH, including peer counseling among vulnerable sectors, as well as treatment and education campaign, cannot be expected to be felt soon.
“We already said that it is going to get worse before it gets better. It takes 3 to 5 years before we can see a change,” he said.
According to Tayag, the country’s current situation is a reflection of “what we did or what we did not do 3 or 5 years ago.”
He cited the sudden rise of cases among IDUs and the concentration of anti-HIV/AIDS services in social hygiene clinic since commercial sex workers used to be the primary source of infection in the country. Unfortunately, men who have sex with men don't frequent these clinics, he said.
Tayag added that the Internet and online social networks have also contributed to the increase in the number of cases, because it is easier to get acquianted with people online, which he said sometimes leads to casual sex. - Rappler.com