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The number of Filipinos stricken with the AIDS virus has reached its highest in nearly three decades, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday.
Three hundred thirteen Filipinos acquired the virus in March, 82 percent more compared to last year, the highest ever recorded on a monthly basis since 1984.
The 313 new cases in March is 141 higher than the 172 individuals who were tested to be positive from HIV during the same period last year.
For the first time since 1984, the Department of Health has reported the highest number of new human immunodefficiency virus (HIV) cases in the country. March this year has been considered as the highest number of cases ever reported in the history of the Philippine HIV and AIDS registry, National Epidemiology Center (NEC) director Dr. Eric Tayag said.
“This is the highest number of cases ever reported in the registry,” the Department of Health said. As of March 2012, the bulk of the new HIV cases came from the National Capital Region with 47 percent; followed by Central Visayas, 15 percent; and CALABARZON with 13 percent.
Out of the 313 new cases, the report revealed that 16 men and one woman have already progressed into full-blown AIDS cases; reaching 30 new AIDS cases from January to March 2012 period.
Of the three which have been reported to have died from AIDS this month, two are males and one is female with median age of 33 years old.
Sexual contact remains as the number one mode of transmission with 280 individuals engaging from the activity. Homosexual contact resulted to 143 new cases followed by bisexual contact with 89 and heterosexual contact with 48.
Thirty-one individuals acquired the virus from injecting-drugs shared needles; and two through mother to child transmission. Men having sex with men remain to be the number one trend of transmission with 83 percent.
Some 37 new HIV cases were overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who got them through sexual contact. The report showed that these were transmitted through heterosexual contact (17), homosexual (13), and bisexual contacts (7).
So far, from January to March 2012, the DOH have recorded a total of 799 cases of HIV/AIDS and 769 were recorded to be asymptomatic. To date, from the year 1984 to 2012, there were a total of 9,163 cases in the Philippines; 1,005 AIDS cases; and 348 deaths.