Nearly 13,000 HIV cases logged this year

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
Nearly 13,000 HIV cases logged this year
Latest available data from the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau under the HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines showed there were 12,859 reported HIV cases from January to October 2022.

MANILA, Philippines — Close to 13,000 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases were reported in the country this year, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

Latest available data from the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau under the HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines showed there were 12,859 reported HIV cases from January to October 2022.

Among the 12,859 cases that acquired HIV through sexual contact, 11,157 (93 percent) were males who reported having sex with a male; 8,518 (71 percent) male with male only; and 2,639 (22 percent) male with male and female.

Moreover, 82 (one percent) were infected through sharing of infected needles, 32 (<1 percent) were mother-to-child transmission, while 175 (one percent) had no data on mode of transmission.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,383 individuals were confirmed to have been HIV-positive in October.

The DOH noted that 353 (26 percent) of individuals reported in October had an advanced HIV infection.

Of the total reported cases this period, 1,321 (96 percent) were male while 62 (four percent) were female.

Further, 833 (60 percent) were cisgender; 40 (three percent) were transgender women; 15 (one percent) were identified as others; three (<1 percent) as neither man nor woman; and 492 (36 percent) had unknown gender identity.

As to age group, 700 (51 percent) of the cases were 25 to 34 years old at the time of diagnosis; 395 (29 percent) were 15 to 24 years old; 242 (18 percent) were 35 to 49 years old; 40 (three percent) were 50 years and older; and six (<1 percent) were less than 15 years old.

The age of the newly reported cases ranged from two to 75 years old.

The DOH data also showed that 1,346 (97 percent) acquired HIV through sexual contact; 15 (one percent) through sharing of infected needles; six (<1 percent) through mother-to-child transmission; while 16 (one percent) had no data on mode of transmission at the time of reporting.

It was also reported that in October, there were 1,105 people with HIV who were enrolled to treatment. There were 1,099 on first line regimen, two on second line regimen, and four on other line of regimen.

Among them, three (<1 percent) were less than 15 years old; 323 (29 percent) were 15 to 24 years old; 563 (51 percent) were 25 to 34 years old; 191 (17 percent) were 35 to 49 years old; and 25 (two percent) were 50 years and older.

Dr. Roland Sardan of the DOH Disease Prevention and Control Bureau said that expansion of medical services like putting up additional testing sites, treatment hubs, and primary HIV/CARE facilities are being done to help people living with HIV especially those living outside urban areas.

“One can avail of the HIV test free of charge in our public hospitals and in primary care and treatment hubs. Right now, we already have 184 treatment hubs and primary HIV care facilities nationwide,” Sardan said in a webinar held yesterday on the occasion of World Aids Day.

Dec. 1 brings everyone in the world together to fight HIV and show kindness, support and unconditional acceptance to people suffering from AIDS.

P85 million for testing

In a related development, the United States donated P85 million in HIV viral load testing cartridges to strengthen the Philippines’ HIV treatment program.

In observance of World AIDS Day, US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson led the handover of 86,000 HIV viral load testing cartridges.

“These laboratory tests are further proof that the US government is committed to working alongside the Department of Health, the community of Filipinos living with HIV, and local governments like Manila City to ensure that people living with HIV in the country have equitable access to a viral load test,” Carlson said at the turnover ceremony hosted by the Manila City government.

“With this donation, we aim to amplify the hopeful message of U equals U: that undetectable is indeed untransmittable,” she added.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Manila City Councilor for health Dr. Louisito Chua, Health Undersecretary Carolina Vidal-Taiño, and members of the people living with HIV (PLHIV) community graced the event.

Secured through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the United States Agency for International Development, the cartridges will be distributed to HIV treatment hubs and facilities across the Philippines and are expected to cover the country’s viral load testing requirements for all patients undergoing HIV treatment for one year.

“This donation of more than 86,000 viral load cartridges from the United States government will be pivotal to the country’s HIV treatment program,” said DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“We are filled with so much hope that we will no longer have to lose our loved ones to HIV and that we will be able to carry on with our lives, free from worry and stigma,” Network Plus co-convenor Elena Felix said on behalf of the PLHIV community. – Pia Lee-Brago


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