MANILA–The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 968 new HIV-positive cases last March, the highest monthly figure since the virus was first detected in the country in 1984.
According to the DOH report, 942 of the newly diagnosed cases contracted the virus through sexual contact, while 22 were injecting drug users (IDU) and four were cases of mother-to-child transmission.
A total of 926 were male and the rest were female. Some 87 percent of the new diagnoses were men having sex with men.
Last March, four pregnant women tested positive for HIV, two of them from the National Capital Region (NCR), one from the Mimaropa region, and one from Central Visayas.
A total of 860 individuals (89 percent) did not experience noticeable symptoms before they were diagnosed with the virus, while 108 cases progressed to AIDs.
According to the HIV/AIDS and ART (anti-retroviral therapy) Registry of the Philippines (HARP), the March figure was 32 percent higher than the 735 cases listed in the same month last year.
“This is the highest number of cases ever reported since 1984,” the HARP report said, noting that the new cases bring to 42,283 the total number of infections logged since 1984.
The median age of the patients was 27 years old. Half of the patients belonged to the 25-34 years age group and an alarming 33 percent to the 15-24 years age bracket.
Metro Manila or the NCR emerged at the top with 309 cases (32 percent), followed by Calabarzon with 135 (14 percent); Central Luzon with 107 (11 percent); Central Visayas with 76 cases (8 percent); and Davao region with 52 cases (5 percent). The remaining 289 cases were from the rest of the country.