MANILA, Philippines - A total of 316 more Filipinos have tested positive for the AIDS-causing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a lawmaker said Monday.
The new infections, which were recorded in September, are the highest in a single month, said LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty.
Ty, co-author of a bill seeking to overhaul the country's 14-year-old AIDS Prevention and Control Law, said the new cases raised to 2,466 the number of HIV infections discovered from January to September this year.
This year's figures are higher by 48% compared to the the same 9-month period in 2011, he said in a press statement.
Ty and fellow Representatives Maria Isabelle Climaco (Zamboanga City), Janette Garin (Iloilo), Jorge Banal (Quezon City), and Kaka Bag-ao (Akbayan), said the 1998 AIDS Prevention and Control Law has become outdated.
Their HB 5312 bill seeks an incremental funding of up to P400 million to jumpstart a new National HIV and AIDS Control Plan.
"The new legislation has become absolutely imperative to effectively suppress the HIV epidemic," Ty said.
Sen. Miriam Santiago has a counterpart bill in the Senate.
The 316 new cases in September -- 304 males and 12 females -- have a median age of 28 years, with those in the 20 to 29 age group accounting for 57%.
Except for four drug users infected due to sharing of tainted needles, all of the new cases acquired the virus as a result of sexual encounters, with males having sex with other males accounting for 82%.
The September cases included 42 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) - 38 males and four females -- with the median age of 32 years. They acquired the virus through sexual contact.
The National HIV and AIDS Registry now lists an aggregate of 10,830 cases, with 92% of them (or 9,949) infected via sexual contact.
The rest acquired the infection through needle-sharing among injecting drug users (424 cases); mother-to-child transmission (59 cases) ; blood transfusion (20 cases); and needle-prick injury (3 cases).
No information was available as to the mode of transmission for at least 375 cases.