SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Every hour, a person is being diagnosed with Human Immunodeficiency Virus in the Philippines.
This was based on the report recently released by the Department of Health on HIV and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome status in the Philippines as of May 2016.
Dr. Genesis Samonte, program manager of the Epidemiology Bureau of the DOH, said there are 25 newly diagnosed patients with HIV reported per day.
Samonte spoke before at least 31 members of the media from different cities and provinces during the 1st Media Seminar on Reporting HIV and AIDS in the Philippines of the DOH-Research Institute of Tropical Medicine held at the Subic Bay Travelers Hotel.
She said the reality is that there are increasing numbers of new HIV cases in the Philippines and the epidemic is here to stay up to 15 years.
AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection, Samonte said, adding that it has no cure but it can be prevented.
In the first five months of 2016 alone, 228 persons diagnosed with HIV/AIDS died, based on the HIV/AIDS and Anti-Retroviral Therapy Registry of the Philippines.
From January 1984 to May 2016, 1,759 of reported persons diagnosed with HIV in the country died.
Eighty-seven percent of those who died were males and most of the fatalities belong to the 25 to 34 age group.
From 1984 to May 2016, the number of persons living with HIV rose to 34,158, mostly composed of males.
The persons affected with HIV ages from 1 to 82 years old, but most of the patients belong to the age group of 25 to 34 years old.
The records also showed that 86 percent of the total cases of HIV since 1984 are asymptomatic, or the patients show no symptoms at the time of reporting.
The most common modes of transmission were sexual contact, followed by needle sharing among injecting drug users, and the last was mother-to-child transmission.
Eighty-six percent of infections transmitted through sexual contact were among males who have sex with males (MSM).
From January to May this year, 29 pregnant women were infected by HIV, and about seven infants were born with HIV.
Samonte said most of those who died due to HIV/AIDS came late to the clinics to get tested for HIV so they were also diagnosed and treated late.
Persons with risky behaviors such as practicing unprotected sex, having multiple sex partners, and injecting drugs, should get themselves tested for HIV before it is too late.
As of May 2016, about 14,356 HIV patients were under the Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART), a treatment that can prolong life expectancy minus about five to 10 years, Samonte said.
There are at least 26 treatment hubs, satellite hubs, and other facilities providing HIV care in the Philippines.
In Negros Island Region, the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hopital in Bacolod City is offering the ART for HIV positive survivors.*SGG
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