DOH records 849 new HIV cases

MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded a total of 849 new HIV cases for February 2017 based on the latest HIV/AIDS Registry of the Philippines (HARP) report and majority of them or 95 percent were male while two others were pregnant women.

The figure was also five cases higher compared to the 844 cases recorded in January 2017.

"This was 13 percent higher compared to the same period last year, which was 751," the report said.

Some 94 of them were now classified as full-blown acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) cases.

Still, sexual contact continues to be the number one mode of transmission with a total of 828, most of which are from the male-having-sex-with-male (MSM) population comprising 707 of the current total cases.

Homosexual contact had the highest number with 442, followed by the bisexual contact with 265, while heterosexual contact led to 121 cases.

Nineteen cases of injecting drug users were also recorded as transmitting HIV.

Aside from that, some 95 deaths were also noted in the report.

National Capital Region (NCR) registered with the most number of cases with a total of 310; followed by Calabarzon with 129; Central Luzon with 102; Central Visayas with 79; and Davao Region with 52.

A total of 63 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were also found to have acquired HIV/AIDS, and all of which were infected through sexual contact.

Since 1984, there is now a total of 41,315 HIV cases, including 3,849 AIDS cases, and 2,097 deaths.

Death can happen because immune system of HIV patients who progressed as AIDs patients can be damaged further by opportunistic infections which can lead to their death.

Since HIV weakens the ability of the immune system to fight the opportunistic infections, a person with HIV should be provided with anti-retroviral therapy (ARTs).

It is important that HIV positive individuals will seek this form of intervention/treatment and take regularly the ART everyday to prolong their life and boost their immune system.

Of course, practicing healthy lifestyle like quitting from smoking and drinking alcohol is also important as they take the treatment.

It is also important that an HIV patient will not expose himself further to other co-infections so that their body's defense from illness will not further deteriorate.

DOH Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial said that ARTs can be accessed in the treatment hubs of DOH and are given free.

To prevent death and ensure that it is not the end of everything for an individual with HIV, it is important that they seek early treatment or know their status.

By knowing one's status, an individual who suspects that he/she has acquired HIV will know what to do, get the right counseling and treatment needed.

On the other hand, if the result is negative, then the individual can further know what to do to maintain that HIV-free status by knowing that there are ways not to be infected by practicing safe sex (use of condom), abstinence, faithfulness to one's partner.

Source: Philippines News Agency