272 more Pinoys have HIV

Posted at 10/04/12 2:44 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Around 272 more Filipinos tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in August, Department of Health data showed.

The DOH's National Epidemiology Center said this marked a 39% increase from the 196 detected in the same month in 2011.

The new cases included 25 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were infected via sexual contact and 19 drug users contaminated due to needle-sharing.

Except for the 19 drug users, all of the August cases acquired the virus as a result of sexual contact, with males having sex with other males accounting for 86%

They have a median age of 28 years, with those in the 20 to 29 age group accounting for 59%.

Fourteen of the August cases were women.

The fresh infections brought the aggregate number of cases in the National HIV and AIDS Registry to 10,514, of which 92%, or 9,637, acquired the virus through sexual contact, DOH data showed.

The registry began passive surveillance of the disease in 1984.

HIV causes AIDS, or the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The disease, which destroys the human body's immune system, does not have any known cure.

AIDS has already claimed the lives of at least 353 Filipinos, including a 41-year-old male who expired in August, party-list Rep. Arnel Ty said.

Ty, in a press statement, said the number of Filipinos undergoing treatment against HIV has also risen by 32% since January.

"A total of 2,761 Filipinos living with HIV are now on anti-retroviral therapy -- 674 more than the 2,087 reported at the start of the year," he said.

A blend of at least 3 antiretroviral drugs is known to help slow down the ailment and ease suffering, according to UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.

Ty and 4 other lawmakers have filed House Bill 5312, or the Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support Policy Act.

The proposed legislation will require government agencies to provide definite programs to alleviate the condition of Filipinos who have HIV.

"A case-management mechanism will be in place for every person living with HIV. Affected families, including children orphaned by AIDS, will also be afforded extra care and support," Ty said.