Monday, May 18, 2015

Albay HIV cases continue to rise
By Judy Ann Peralta (OJT)

LEGAZPI CITY, May 15 (PNA) -- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases in Albay continue to increase, according to Mike de la Rama, Albay AIDS Council coordinator, said Friday.

De la Rama said there are now 72 Albayanos infected with HIV and 19 of them are taking anti-retroviral therapy.

In general, there are now 101 reported cases that are in the treatment hub in the Bicol Region.

The Albay AIDS Council is now full blast in its effort to spread information to make people aware of the HIV infection by means of school-based information and education.

It has also been distributing condoms as education material during outreach, makes available free voluntary HIV counseling and testing service, and does multi- sectoral coordination through the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC).

In the national level, as of March, there are 21 new case of HIV everyday; as compared to one new case per day in 2008; four per day in 2010; nine per day in 2012; and 17 in 2014.

The figures were based on the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP) of the Department of Health Epidemiology Center.

As of March, there were 667 new HIV absero-positive individuals.

This was 34 percent higher compared to the same period last year (498), and was the highest number of cases reported since 1984.

Most of the cases (96 percent) were male and the median age was 28 years old.

More than half (56 percent) belong to the 25-34 year age group while 26 percent were youth aged 15-24 years old. The regions with the highest number of reported cases for March were NCR, with 293 (44 percent) cases; Region 4A, with 92 (14 percent) cases; Region 7 with 68 (10 percent) cases and Region 3 with 57 (9 percent) cases.

Some 157 (24 percent) cases came from the rest of the country.

The reported modes of transmission (MOT) of HIV as were sexual contact (630), needle sharing among injecting drug users (IDU) (34), and mother-to-child transmission (3).

Eighty-five percent of the sexually transmitted cases were among males who have sex with males (MSM).

From January 1984 to March this year, MSM (homosexual and bisexual) was the predominant (17,546 or 79 percent) type of sexual transmission among males, followed by male-female sex (3,225 or 15 percent), and sharing of needles (1,084 or 5 percent).

More than half (54 percent (9,417) of cases among MSM belong to the 25-34 year age group while 5,120 (29 percent) were youth 15-24 years old.

Among females, male-female sex was the most common MOT (1,973 or 91 percent) followed by sharing of needles (78 or 4 percent).

A total of 70 children (<10 years old) and 2 adolescents were reported to have acquired HIV through mother-to-child transmission, while 20 people were infected through blood transfusion.

And as of March, there were 9,475 People Living with HIV (PLHIV) presently on anti-retroviral therapy (ART).

From January 1984 to March, there have been 24,376 HIV absero-positive cases reported to the HARP.

Most (22,188 or 91 percent were male in the median age, or 28 years old.

Half (12,326 or 51 percent were from the 25-34-year age group while 6,363 (26 percent) were youth aged 15-24 years old; two percent (19,952) of all the 24,376 diagnosed cases in the Philippines were reported in the past five years, from January 2010 to March 2015.

Most (93 percent) of these cases were still asymptomatic at the time of reporting.

From January 1984 to March 2015, there were a total of 1,167 reported deaths, 972 (83 percent) were male.

In total, there has been 15 (1 percent) reported deaths among children less than 10 years old, 13 (1 percent) reported deaths in adolescents (10-19 years old) and 144 (12 percent) reported deaths among youth (15-24 years old).

The highest number of deaths occurred in the 25-34 years (44 percent) and was followed by the 35-49 years (31 percent) age groups.

Sexual contact (94 percent) was the most common mode of HIV transmission (356 heterosexual, 493 homosexual, 244 bisexual).

There were 20 deaths among IDU.

Currently, the DOH is conducting the National HIV Testing Week by giving free HIV test from May 11-15 in observance of the AIDS Candlelight Memorial on May 17 in order to reduce the incidence of HIV in the country. (PNA) FFC/FGS/OJT/cbd