The Inbox

New HIV cases in PH reach all-time high

red ribbon (from unaids website)By Patrick King Pascual, VERA Files

New cases of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the country reached an all-time high of 204 in July this year, the highest number of new cases recorded by the Department of Health (DOH) in a month to date.

 The virus is now infecting seven Filipinos every 24 hours, up from last year's average of five new HIV patients daily.

Latest data showed that a total of 1,220 cases were registered in the first seven months of this year alone, bringing to 7,235 the total number of HIV cases since 1984 when the first such case was recorded in the Philippines.

According to the DOH, 90% of the positive cases were males, 20 to 29 years old. It added that 107 of the 204 HIV cases recorded in July this year were from the National Capital Region (NCR).

DOH also said that the most common means of transmission of the virus was sexual, mostly from MSM (or men who have sex with men). Others were from female sex workers and injecting drug users.

The World Health Organization (WHO) noted that the Philippines is one of seven countries in the world where there has been a continuous rise of HIV-AIDS cases in the last eight years amid a global slowdown. The other six countries are Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

If this trend continues, the Philippine government may need P1 billion every year to produce Antiretroviral Medicines (ARVs) to help slow down the spread of the HIV virus and aid people living with HIV and/or AIDS (PLWHAs).

 The Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) already warned that the number of HIV cases in the country could balloon to 46,000 by 2015 if no concrete programs to educate the people about the disease and a system to control the spread of the virus were put in place.

Five members of Congress have filed House Bill 5312, or the proposed Comprehensive AIDS Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support Policy and Plan Act of 2011, to energize the multi-sectoral PNAC and jumpstart a new National HIV and AIDS Plan with definite strategies, operating guidelines and targets supported by a P400 million budget.

Authors of the bill included Arlene Bag-ao (Akbayan party-list), Jorge Banal (Quezon City), Ma. Isabelle Climaco (Zamboanga City), Janette Garin (Iloilo), and Arnel Ty (LPG Marketers' Association party-list) Rep.

Ty said HB 5312 enjoins particular agencies to conduct programs that will help decrease the growing number of HIV cases in the country and to improve the conditions of PLWHAs.

PLWHAs are protected by Republic Act 8504, or the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998. All government agencies, medical institutions and individuals are mandated to keep all information regarding PLWHAs confidential. A person or institution found violating this law faces penalties that include imprisonment from two months to four years, and revocation of their license and permits.

When a person is HIV-positive it does not mean he has AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

HIV is a condition in the human body in which there is a progressive deterioration of the immune system (body defense) or the ability to fight off disease. AIDS is a disease of the human immune system when it is greatly weakened by HIV. This makes the infected individual vulnerable to other life threatening infections.

There is still no permanent cure for HIV and AIDS, but there are ARVs that may help slow down the growth and spread of the HIV virus. Several medical institutions offer medical assistance to PLWHAs, like counselling, regular monitoring of their vital status, and providing them medical attention.

 (VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. During the assault, Kim screamed a slogan in favour of …

  • Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile
    Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago believes granting Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile house arrest, while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains under hospital detention, will violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. “That’s already a violation of the equal protection of the law,” she said. …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • 8 of 10 cities most at risk from natural disasters located in Phl – study
    8 of 10 cities most at risk from natural disasters located in Phl – study

    Eight of 10 world cities most exposed to natural hazards are in the Philippines and more than half of the 100 cities most exposed to earthquakes, storms and other disasters are in four Asian nations, according to a research. The study, published on Wednesday by risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft, analyzed the threat posed by storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, volcanoes and landslides in more than 1,300 cities. The study found that the 10 cities most at risk are Port Vila in …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

  • Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship
    Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship

    TOKYO (AP) — A former crewmember on a Japanese battleship that sank during World War II said Thursday he recognized photos of wreckage discovered this week off the Philippines by a team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options