More Filipinos are being infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the Department of Health said, citing a report that in January, at least 33 people acquired the virus per day.

The department’s Epidemiology Bureau reported 1,021 new cases in January, or 33 cases per day. The figure is 22.4 percent higher than the 834 cases recorded in the same month last year.

The report showed 96 percent or 976 of those infected were male with an average age of 28. Almost a third of the new cases came from Metro Manila with 32 percent or 327 cases. The provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon reported 168 cases, while Central Luzon had 105 cases.

Western Visayas and Central Visayas recorded 7 percent or 69 cases and 10 percent or 105 cases, respectively.

Sexual contact remains the top mode of transmission. The report said 87 percent or 885 cases of infections were males having sex with males (MSM). The virus was also spread through needle sharing and mother-to-child transmission.

Five of the women in the report were pregnant when they acquired the virus. Two came from Metro Manila and one each from Central Luzon, Western Visayas and Central Visayas.

The report said 68 Overseas Filipino Workers were also infected, and 38 cases were men who had sex with men. Also, 13 percent or 136 of the new cases came from those who engage in transactional sex.

Thirty patients died of various complications linked to HIV.

The government had recorded 51,409 cases of HIV since the first infection was reported in 1984. At least 2,849 victims have died. KENNETH HERNANDEZ