DOH sees increase in HIV cases


Posted at Sep 14 2022 06:43 PM

Scanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell. Credit: NIAID
Scanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell. Credit: NIAID

MANILA — The Philippines is seeing a rise in HIV cases especially among the youth, the Department of Health said Wednesday.

According to DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire, there were 1,346 HIV infections recorded in July this year.

"Comparing that to the previous years of our monthly average, this is really high, higher than before," she told ANC's "Dateline".

To date, the total estimated number of HIV cases in the country is almost 150,000, Vergeire said. In 2017, there were about 72,000 HIV cases, she added.

From 1984 to 2006, HIV cases were mostly transmitted through sex between men and women, according to a 2020 report from DOH.

"However, in 2007, the trend shifted, and more cases were detected among males who have sex with males (MSM). In 2020, 90 percent of new infections were among MSM," the report read.

The report, "A Briefer on the Philippine HIV Estimates 2020," also showed that condom use among MSM was very low (38 percent), especially among younger age groups.

Data from the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines revealed there were 4,574 reported deaths from 1984 to 2020.


In the interview, Vergeire called on the public to avail of the agency's HIV testing, treatment and support programs. But she also noted the delivery of services were affected by the pandemic.

"I would just like to tell everybody that if you have HIV, it is not a death sentence for you," she said. 

The government invests almost P5 billion annually for the HIV program, together with other priority diseases, she added.

DOH-designated HIV treatment hubs and primary HIV care clinics can be found nationwide.

"You can live a productive life. Hindi po kailangan katakutan, hindi po kailangang pandirian," Vergeire said.

"Bagkus, kailangan lamang po magtulungan tayo so that our individuals who have this kind of disease or who are suspected to have this disease will not be scared of going to our facilities to have themselves tested."

(This should not be feared. Instead, we just need to help each other.) 

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