The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected an additional 486 Filipinos in February this year, most of them young men. The virus was acquired through homosexual or bisexual contact, according to a study by the Department of Health (DOH).
Data from the Philippine HIV/AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) Registry revealed that out of the 486 new HIV cases, men accounted for 468 or 96 percent and women, 18 or four percent.
Also, 219 people aged 15 to 29 got the virus, with 213 of them men.
The data disclosed that 458 of the 486 HIV cases were acquired through sexual contact, with 51 percent classified as homosexual or having sex with the same gender, 31 percent as bisexual or with both men and women and 18 percent as heterosexual or with the opposite gender.
The remaining 28 infections were acquired through use of injectable drugs.
The National Capital Region (Metro Manila) topped the table with 42 percent of the 486 HIV cases, while 14 percent came from Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), 10 percent from Central Luzon, 9 percent from Central Visayas and 8 percent from Davao region.
Also, of the 486 infected, 50 were overseas Filipino workers.
The data, however, said 50 of the reported HIV cases in February were still asymptomatic, or may not have exhibited any symptom.
More than three months into 2014, 934 people were infected with HIV, while 93 of them got AIDS, according to the statistics.
Since 1984, 17,450 HIV cases have been reported to the Health department, with 1,599 of them classified as AIDS cases.
In a briefing last month, Teresita Bagasao, country coordinator for the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, said reported HIV cases in the Philippines were on an upward trend.
“Sad to say, we are included among nine countries with over 25 percent new reported infections,” Bagasao said. “It is worrisome because the new infections that have been reported have come only in the last three years.”