PH observes increase in HIV cases mostly affecting younger age group, says DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau disclosed an increase in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases in the Philippines.

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As of May 2023, a total of 1,256 new HIV cases were recorded, averaging 48 cases per day.

The data also revealed that 26 percent of individuals had an "advanced HIV infection" at diagnosis, including 20 percent of “youth” cases.

The statistics, disclosed by the HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines, indicated that out of the total cases, 94 percent were male, while six percent were female.

Notably, 32 percent of the reported cases were among the youth aged 15 to 24, with 94 percent being male and 6 percent female.

Additionally, DOH highlighted six HIV-positive pregnant women, with ages ranging from 19 to 28 years old, and since 2011, a total of 754 diagnosed women have been reported pregnant at the time of diagnosis.

Meanwhile, the health department also reported 132 deaths among individuals diagnosed with HIV, encompassing various age groups.

Based on the data, eight percent of the reported deaths were in the 15 to 24 age range, emphasizing the vulnerability of the youth to HIV-related complications.

Moreover, regarding treatment, 1,252 individuals with HIV were enrolled in the HIV treatment hubs and are undergoing Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART), with 49 percent aged 25 to 34, 30 percent aged 15 to 24, 18 percent aged 35 to 49, two percent aged 50 and older, and two individuals less than 15 years old.

Related to this, the DOH emphasized the importance of addressing the rising trend and urged individuals to avail themselves of available healthcare services.

Public health authorities are urging vigilance, safe behaviors, and regular testing to curb the spread of HIV.

These cases underscored the necessity of sustained efforts in education, prevention, and accessible healthcare services to combat the HIV epidemic effectively.