The Department of Health (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau reported 751 new HIV cases in February 2016, a figure 16% higher compared to the same period last year. This is actually a continuation of the growing rate of infection in the country, even if the February figure was smaller than the 804 reported cases in January.
Most (96%) of the cases reported were male, with the media age of 27 years old (age range: one year-66 years). More than half belonged to the 25-34 age group, while 29% were youth aged 15-24 years old.
The regions with the highest number of reported HIV cases for February 2016 were: National Capital Region (NCR) with 295 (39%) cases, Region 4A (124 or 17%), Region 7 (100 or 13%), Region 3 (65 or 9%), and Region 11 (58 or 8%).
Reported modes of transmission (MOTs) were sexual contact (711), needle sharing among injecting drug users (IDU, 38) and mother-to-child transmission. Eighty-seven percent of those transmitted through sexual contact were among males who have sex with males (MSM). Different MOTs were predominant in different regions. Almost half (49%) of the MSM ever reported were from NCR; 99% of the IDU were from Region 7; and 45% of females who engaged in transactional sex were from Region 3.
The pervasiveness of HIV infection among younger Filipinos was again stressed in February, with 218 (29%) cases reported among youth aged 15-24 years. Most (94%) were male. Among the young, 99% (215) were infected through sexual contact (26 male-female sex, 118 male-male sex, 71 sex with both males & females) and three (1%) through needle sharing among IDU.
Also in February, 10% (76) of the reported cases engaged in transactional sex. Most (93%) were male whose ages ranged from 16 years-56 years (median: 30 years) while five were female whose ages ranged from 20 years-34 years (median: 23 years). Forty-five percent (32) of males who engaged in transactional sex were the ones who paid for sex while three of the females engaged in both.