MANILA - The Department of Health is sounding the alarm over the increasing number of Filipinos diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), saying at least one HIV patient was as young as 16 years old.
Speaking to radio dzMM, DOH Assistant Secretary Dr. Eric Tayag said the Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry recorded 415 new HIV cases in May this year. He said this is the highest monthly number of new HIV cases since the registry was set up in 1984.
Tayag said the youngest HIV patient in the new recorded cases is 16 years old. He refused to give more information on the patient but noted that 95% of the new HIV cases are men.
He also noted that many of the new HIV cases are between the ages 20-29.
The health official said the DOH is working towards stopping the rise in HIV cases by reminding Filipinos to practice abstinence, to remain faithful to their partners or to wear a condom.
He, however, noted: "Ang tingin namin dito ay magpapatuloy yung ganuong trend. It's going to get worse before it gets better."
"Ang pagiging mapusok mahirap pong pigilan yan e," he added.
He said the DOH will soon announce how Filipinos can get tested for HIV anonymously. He said that before they can get testing, counselors will talk to the patients.