New HIV infections doubled in 24 months – solon

A TOTAL of 1,600 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases were diagnosed in the country from January to June, up 584 cases or 57 percent versus the 1,016 spotted in the semester of 2011, a lawmaker reported over the weekend.

“New HIV infections have doubled over the last 24 months, considering that in the first semester of 2010, only 809 cases were detected,” said Rep. Arnel Ty, of the sectoral party LPG Marketers’ Association (LPG-MA).

The 1,600 new infections in the first half of 2012 included 295 cases spotted in June alone, according to Ty.

He said the June cases were the second highest-ever reported in a month, after the record 313 infections logged in March.

Among the 295 new cases, 28 were overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) infected through sexual contact; and 20 were injecting drug users contaminated due to needle-sharing, Ty said.

Citing National Epidemiology Center data, Ty said the June cases – 285 males and 10 females — had a median age of 28 years, with those in the 20 to 29 age group comprising 56 percent.

Except for the 20 injecting drug users, he said all of the June cases acquired the infection as a result of sexual contact, with males having sex with other males accounting for 87 percent.

Ty said another full-blown AIDS case, a 35-year-old male, was lost in June, bringing the known deaths this year to 10.

HIV causes AIDS, or the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The disease that destroys the human body’s immune system does not have a known cure. However, antiretroviral treatments can slow down the disease.

Ty remains hopeful that the Philippines will have a new and stronger HIV/AIDS Prevention Law this year.

“We still have high hopes that Congress will act positively on proposed new legislation that will bolster the war on HIV/AIDS,” he said.

He was referring to House Bill 5312, which proposes the launch of a new National HIV and AIDS Control Plan, with P400 million in fresh funding.

Ty and four of his colleagues in the House jointly authored the bill, which has a counterpart measure in the Senate introduced by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

The National HIV and AIDS Registry now lists an aggregate of 9,964 cases, with nine out of every 10 infected on account of sexual contact. At least 353 of those in the registry are known to have died.

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