DOH reports 1,228 newly confirmed HIV-positive cases

By Ibarra C. Mateo

The Department of Health (DOH) reported on Dec. 30, 2019 that it has recorded 1,228 newly confirmedHIV-positive individuals at the HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP).

The DOH said the number represents cases for August 2019. The number is 17 percent higher compared with the diagnosed cases (1,047) in the same period last year.

Of the August 2019 figure, 15 percent (185) had clinical manifestations of advanced HIV infection (WHO clinical stage 3 or 4) at the time of diagnosis.

Ninety-five percent (1,170) of the newly diagnosed were male with a median age of 27 years (age range: 1-72 years old).

Almost half of the cases (47 percent, 578 cases) were 25-34 years old and 35 percent (424) were 15-24 years old at the time of testing.

The DOH said that more than a third (34 percent, 417 cases) were from the National Capital Region (NCR). Region 4A (18 percent, 218), Region 3 (9 percent, 117), Region 7 (8 percent, 93), and Region 6 (7 percent, 82) comprised the top five regions with the most number of newly diagnosed cases for the month.

Combined the five regions accounted for 76 percent of the total.

Sexual contact remained as the predominant mode of transmission (98 percent, 1,202). Among the newly diagnosed, 61 percent (748) reported transmission through male to male sex; 25 percent (310) through sex with both males and females, and 12 percent (144) were through male to female sex.

Other modes of transmission were sharing of infected needles (1 percent, 13) and mother-to-child transmission (less than 1 percent, 2).

Eleven cases had no data on mode of transmission. Among the newly diagnosed females August 2019, 9 were pregnant at the time of diagnosis. Five cases were from NCR, two from Region 7 and one case each from Regions 3 and 11.

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