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924 new HIV cases reported in April 2018; 98% from unsafe sex

With up to 31 new HIV infections happening every day, the total number of Filipinos who tested HIV-positive reached 924 in April 2018. 96% of the newly diagnosed were male, and sexual contact remains the main mode of transmission (98%).

Still in a bad situation.

With up to 31 new HIV infections happening every day, the total number of Filipinos who tested HIV-positive reached 924 in April 2018, the month covered by the most recent report released by the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP). Of that number, 179 (19%) already had clinical manifestations of advanced HIV infection (WHO clinical stage 3 or 4) at the time of diagnosis, meaning late diagnosis of their HIV status.

Broken according to sex, 96% (885) of the newly diagnosed were male, with the median age of the newly infected 28 years old (range: 2 – 70 years old). Half (50%, 462) were 25-34 years old and 30% (277) were 15-24 years old at the time of testing.

REGIONAL FOCUS

About one third (30%, 282) of the newly infected were from the National Capital Region (NCR). Region 4A (18%, 164 cases), Region 3 (13%, 117), Region 7 (8%, 71), Region 11 (5%, 50) and Region 6 (5%, 44) rounded off the top six regions with the most number of newly diagnosed cases for the month, together accounting for 79% of the total.

MODES OF TRANSMISSION

Sexual contact remains the main mode of transmission (98%, 905). Among this, eighty-six percent were among males who have sex with males (MSM).

Other mode of transmission were needle sharing among injecting drug users (1%, 13) and vertical transmission/mother-to-child transmission (<1%, 1).

There were five cases that had no data on mode of transmission. Among the newly diagnosed females for April, four were pregnant at the time of diagnosis.

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SPECIAL POPULATIONS

In April 2018, 277 (30%) cases were among youth 15-24 years old; 97% were male. Almost all (99%, 273) were infected through sexual contact (29 male-female sex, 168 male-male sex, 76 sex with both males and females) and two were infected through sharing of needles. Two cases had no data on mode of transmission.

There were 47 newly diagnosed adolescents 10-19 years old in April 2018. Almost all (98%) were infected through sexual contact (eight male-female sex, 31 male-male sex, seven had sex with both males and females) and one had no data on mode of transmission.

There was one newly diagnosed child less than 10 years old and was infected through mother-to-child transmission.

TRANSACTIONAL SEX

In April 2018, 11% (106) of the newly diagnosed engaged in transactional sex. Ninety-nine percent (105) were male and were 18 to 54 years old (median: 27 years). More than half of the males (59%, 62) reported paying for sex only, 29% (30) reported accepting payment for sex only and 12% (13) engaged in both. There was one newly diagnosed female who engaged in transactional sex aged 26 years old and was reported accepting payment only.

The first case of HIV infection in the Philippines was reported in 1984. Since then, there have been 54,332 confirmed HIV cases reported to the HARP.

AIDS-RELATED DEATHS

In April 2018, there were 66 deaths among people with HIV. All were male. Eleven (17%) were 15-24 years old, 27 (41%) cases were from 25-34 years old, 27 (41%) cases were from 35-49 years old age group and one (1%) case was aged 50 years or older. Almost all (98%) of the cases were reported to have acquired the infection through sexual contact (10 through male-female sex, 38 through male-male sex, and 17 through sex with both males and females); while there was one case that had no data on the mode of transmission.

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