The Philippine government is taking action after more than 1,000 new cases of HIV were recorded in the Philippines in August.
The HIV/Aids Registry of the Philippines (Harp) report of the Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed that 1,047 new cases were recorded.
The last time the number of new cases topped 1,000 was back in January, when 1,021 were recorded.
According to Harp’s monthly report for August, 17 per cent had clinical manifestations of being advanced HIV infection or acquired immunodeficiency deficiency syndrome (Aids).
The DOH also reported 159 deaths from HIV/Aids in August.
The said figure is 57 cases lower as compared to the number of cases recorded in the same period last year.
Sexual contact accounts for 98 per cent of transmissions, with 87 per cent being ‘males who have sex with males’.
Male-to-male sex accounted for 627 cases, followed by 260 from those having sex with both male and female and 135 from male-to-female sex.
Needle sharing among injecting drug users accounted for 17 cases. The remaining eight cases had no recorded data on transmission.
Thirty-one percent of the new cases were from the National Capital Region, followed by Calabarzon (17 per cent), Central Luzon (11 per cent), Central Visayas (10 per cent), and Western Visayas (six per cent).
Ninety-one overseas workers were also diagnosed. Nearly all of these cases were infected through sexual contact.
So far this year, there have been 7,579 new cases, including 1,341 Aids cases and 435 deaths.
Since records were first kept in 1984, there have been 58,181 HIV cases, 6,409 Aids cases and 2,893 deaths.
Addressing the August figures today (Friday, October 12), presidential spokesman Harry Roque said: “The Philippines made a significant milestone when the Senate and the House of Representatives ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the bill which aims to strengthen the existing policy on HIV/AIDS prevention in the country.
“We can look forward to a society that is empowered to prevent, not only the spread of the disease, but also the stigma that comes with it.”
House Bill 253 seeks to allocate more funds for HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment as well as improve access to healthcare services in communities.
According to UN figures released at the beginning of August, the Philippines has seen the fastest-growing HIV/Aids epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region.
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