178 new HIV cases recorded in June 2011 alone, says DOH

Published: August 21, 2011

MANILA – There are 178 new cases of HIV as of June this year, the HIV/Aids registry reported.

Department of Health Technical Program Officer Ethel Dano said the new cases constitute a 63 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Dano said 94 percent of those reported HIV positive are males with ages between 15 and 58. Sixty percent of these cases are between the ages 20 to 29 and 62 percent, 111 of the cases are from the National Capital Region.

The reported mode of transmission of the 173 cases were sexual, while five others did not give any information. “Males having sex with males are the predominant type of transmission which is 83 percent of all the cases,” Dano said, while the ages of those who acquired the infection through sexual intercourse are from ages 15 to 67.

Most however are asymptomatic at the time of reporting and there are no reported deaths for June.

Of the 178 cases, 22 or 12 percent are Overseas Filipino Workers where 18 are males and four are females. “All of the OFWs acquired the infection through sexual contact,” Dano said. Of the OFW victims, 10 are heterosexual, five are homosexual and seven are bisexuals.

Dano further said that from January to June this year, there were 1,016 reported cases.

Dano said the June statistics as well as that of the first quarter of the year alarmed the Philippine government as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) because of the high increase of cases, which is contrary to the international trend where there is a decreasing trend.

Philippine statistics is relatively low compared to the other countries but the very rapid increase made the country land in the watch list of the WHO.

In 2009, world statistics showed there are 33.4 million people infected with HIV with most of them at the sub-Sahara areas of Africa at 22 million and 4.2 million are at Southeast Asia where Philippines is located.

From 1984 to 2011 the country recorded 7,031 HIV cases in the Philippines.

The general strategy of the country is to halt the spread of HIV in the country by 2016. If its spread is stopped, the negative impact of the disease on individuals, families, sectors and communities is prevented.

Dr. Milagros Viacrusis, DOH’s national coordinator for voluntary blood program expressed fear about the figures because there is a 100 percent possibility of transmission of disease to another person through blood transfusion.

Records showed there were 279 blood donations which were found to be HIV infected.

“Good thing these were not transfused. Otherwise, these are additional HIV positive cases in the country from 2000 to 2009,” she said.

Viacrusis said blood centers in the country screen blood donations.

She added the 279 HIV-positive donations were referred by the regional blood centers to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for confirmatory testing.

Because of these issues, the DOH is advocating for a voluntary blood donation.

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