Central Visayas ranks 7th among regions with new HIV cases in January-November 2021

·3 min read

CENTRAL Visayas has 64 newly diagnosed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases for the period of January to November 2021, making the region having the seventh most new cases among 17 regions in the Philippines.

The numbers in Central Visayas constitute five percent of the 1,268 total cases from January to November in 2021 reported to the HIV/Aids & ART Registry of the Philippines (Harp), the Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau's report released on Monday, January 3, 2022.

The National Capital Region has the most new cases, accounting for 360, or 28 percent of all new cases.

Four other regions with most number of new cases are Calabarzon (Region 4A), 250 (20 percent); Central Luzon (Region 3), 146 (12 percent); Soccsksargen (Region 12), 108 (nine percent); and Western Visayas (Region 6), 94 (seven percent).

In the January–November 2021 period, the combined number of new cases in NCR, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Soccsksargen, and Western Visayas accounted for 76 percent of the total number of cases.

HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If not treated, HIV can lead to Aids (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Since reporting began in January 1984, the Harp registry recorded a total of 93,364 reported cases.

As of November 20, 2021, 18% (223) of newly reported cases had clinical manifestations of advanced HIV infection at the time of testing.

A total of 134 deaths were reported in the same period.

Age group

The age group 25-34 years old had the most cases with 52 percent (653), followed by 15-24 years old, 28 percent (359); 35-49 years old, 18 percent (225); 50 years and older, two percent (31); and under 15 years old, less than one percent (1).

The median age was 28 years old (age range: 3-70 years old).

Ninety-six percent (1,211) of the reported cases were males, while 57 were females. Of the total male cases, two percent (29) identified themselves as females (transgender women) and 26 percent (310) reported their gender identity as others at the time of testing.

Mode of transmission

Sexual contact remains the foremost mode of transmission of HIV comprising 98 percent or 1,248 of the reported 1,268 total cases. Seven cases (one percent) acquired HIV via sharing of needles.

A child (less than one percent) was infected through mother-to-child transmission.

Twelve cases had no data on the mode of transmission as the time of reporting.

Twelve percent (148) of the new cases engaged in transactional sex—99 percent (147) of the cases were males with age ranging from 16 to 57 years old. Fifty percent (74) of the male cases reported paying for sex, 34 percent (50) reported accepted payment for sex, and 16 percent (23) engaged in both. One 23-year-old female was reported to have paid in exchange for sex.

Also, as of November 2021, there were 10 HIV-positive women reported pregnant at the time of diagnosis—four from NCR, three cases from Calabarzon, two cases from Central Visayas and one case from Soccsksargen.

Eighty-seven Filipinos who worked overseas within five years were reported with HIV in November 2021

Antiretroviral therapy

As of November 2021, 917 people with HIV had been enrolled in antiretroviral therapy.

A total of 55,498 people living with HIV were on antiretroviral therapy as of November 2021. Nine-six percent on ART (53,473) were males. (KAL)

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