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751 new HIV cases in Phl in Feb.; 16% higher compared to Feb. 2015

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.

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%).

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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.

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