MANILA –The Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday that 750 new cases of HIV positive cases were reported to its HIV/AIDS and ART (Antiretroviral Therapy) Registry of the Philippines (HARP) last December, and three of them were pregnant women.
The HARP report revealed that 721 (96 percent) of the total figure were male, while 412 belonged to the 25-34 age group and 221 to the 15-24 age bracket.
Sexual contact emerged as the top mode of transmission, with 734 cases — 88 percent of which were males having sex with males (MSM). The remaining 16 cases were acquired through needle-sharing among injecting drug users (IDU).
In December 2016, 34 adolescents aged 10-19 years were reported to HARP. All of them were infected through sexual contact (five male-female sex, 19 male-to-male sex, 10 sex with both males and females). Of the 221 cases among those aged 15-24 years, 95 percent were male, and 219 were infected through sexual contact (23 male-female sex, 129 male-to-male sex, 67 sex with both males and females) and two through needle-sharing among IDUs.
The report also said that 267 of the cases (36 percent), were logged in the National Capital Region (NCR), which was followed by Calabarzon with 136 cases (18 percent); Central Luzon with 74 (10 percent); Central Visayas with 59 (8 percent); and Davao with 46 (6 percent). The remaining 168 cases (22 percent) were from other regions in the country.
Two of the three pregnant women were from NCR while the other one was from Central Visayas.
The first AIDS case in the Philippines was reported in 1984. From January 1984 to December 2016, 39,622 HIV positive cases have been reported to HARP, 93 percent or 36,801, of whom were male. Some 51 percent, or 20,386, were from the 25-34 age group while 10,720 were between 15 and 24 years old.
In the early years of the epidemic (1984 to 1990), 62 percent or 133 of 216 cases were female but as the years went by, the trend changed. From 1991 to the present, males comprised 93 percent or 36,718 of 39,395 cases.
The age group with the biggest proportion of cases has also turned younger. Between 2001 and 2005, it was 35 to 49 years. However, starting 2006, the age proportion shifted to 25 to 34 years. The proportion of HIV positive cases in the 15-24 age bracket increased from 25 percent in 2006-2010 to 28 percent in 2011-2016.