MANILA, Philippines - Close to 500 new HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infections were recorded in January, bringing to 16,964 the total number of cases since the country documented the first infection in 1984, the Department of Health (DOH) reported yesterday.
The DOH’s Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry showed there were 448 new HIV cases recorded last month, which is 18 percent higher than the 380 cases recorded in January last year.
Fifty-seven of the cases had progressed to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) at the time of the reporting and seven deaths – all male patients – were recorded within the period.
“The highest number of deaths occurred in the 25-29 age group at 57 percent, followed by 20-24, 30-34 and the 50 and older age groups with 14 percent each.
The DOH said sexual contact accounted for 444 cases, while the four others were blamed on the sharing of contaminated needles among drug users.
“Sexual contact between males with fellow males was the predominant type of HIV transmission (85 percent),” it said, referring not only to homosexuals, but straight men having sex with other men.
The report said 97 percent of the cases were males and the 20-29 age group has the most number of cases at 56 percent.
The DOH said the country has recorded 16,964 HIV cases since 1984, including 1,563 full-blown AIDS and 938 deaths.
There had been 107 deaths among youths aged 15 to 24, and 15 deaths among children below 15 years old.
The agency has observed that the annual number of deaths from 1984 to 2010 ranged from two to 36, with an average of 14 per year.
There had been an increase in the number of recorded deaths since 2011 with 69; 2012 with 177 and 2013 with 223, it said.