POZ

March 2016 continues upward HIV trend in Phl with 736 new cases

Seven hundred and thirty-sex (736) new HIV Ab seropositive individuals were reported to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines this March, a number that – while lower than the February figure of 751 – was still 10% higher compared to the same period last year.

Seven hundred and thirty-sex (736) new HIV Ab seropositive individuals were reported to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines this March, a number that – while lower than the February figure of 751 – was still 10% higher compared to the same period last year (667). Of the new cases, most (97%) were male, with the median age of 28 years old (age range: eight years-63 years). More than half belong to the 25-34 year age group while 27% were youth aged 15-24 years.

The regions with the highest number of reported cases for March were: National Capital Region (NCR) with 284 (39%) cases, Region 4A with 94 (13%) cases, Region 3 with 82 (11%) cases, Region 7 with 71 (10%) cases, and Region 11 with 65 (9%) cases.

Reported modes of transmission were sexual contact (709), needle sharing among injecting drug users (IDU) [26], and mother-to- child transmission (1). Eighty-six percent (86%) of those transmitted through sexual contact were among males who have sex with males (MSMs).

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The effect of HIV among the youth continue to be even more defined, with the March data showing 204 (28%) cases involving youth aged 15-24 years. Most (96%) were male. Ninety-nine percent (203) were infected through sexual contact (17 male-female sex, 110 male-male sex, 76 sex with both males and females), and 1 (<1%) through needle sharing among IDU.

Also becoming even more defined is the emergence of those who engage in transactional sex as a key affected population. People who engage in transactional sex are those who report that they pay for sex, regularly accept payment for sex or do both. In March, 12% (90) of the reported cases engaged in transactional sex. Most (96%) were male (Table 4) whose ages ranged from 18 years-54 years (median: 28 years) while 4 were female whose ages ranged from 23 years-34 years (median: 25 years). Forty percent (35) of males who engaged in transactional sex were the ones who paid for sex while 2 of the females engaged in both.

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Also in March, there were 520 people living with HIV (PLHIV) who started taking antiretroviral medicine (as part of antiretroviral therapy). This was 16% higher than the same period last year (n=448). The median CD4 of these patients upon enrollment was 151 cells/mm3.

A total of 13,387 PLHIVs were presently on ART as of March 2016. Most (96%) were males. The median age of patients was 31 years (range: 11 months-77 years). Ninety-six percent were on first line regimen, 3% were on second line regimen and <1% were on mixed first and second line regimen.

For the month of March 2016, there were 26 reported deaths. Of the number, 92% (24) were male while 8% (two) were female. Fifteen (58%) of the reported deaths belong to the 25-34 year age group, eight were in the 35-49 year age group, two were youth aged 15-24 years old and one belongs to the 50 years and older age group. All were infected through sexual contact (four male-female sex, 14 male-male sex, eight sex with both males and females).

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