While there have been great efforts of continuous intervention and advocacy towards prevention and control of HIV and AIDS in the Philippines, a new report shows that there is still an enormous work to be done. The prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the country is still low, but with the staggering statistics today and in recent years, there has been a great reason to be alarmed.
The August 2013 report of the Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry of the Department of Health-National Epidemiology Center shows a stunning record of 382 total reported cases. Although it is less than July’s 449 cases, which was the highest number ever recorded in a month since the registry began in 1984, it is still 40% higher compared to the 272 cases in the same period in 2012. This new figure brought to a total of 3,154 reported cases from January to August 2013
A high percentage of the cases were males accounting for 96%. Sexual contact remains the top cause of transmission with 341 cases; transmission through needle sharing among people who inject drugs registered 41 cases; and 2 cases of mother to child transmission.
Just as worrisome, 60%, or at least 229 of these new cases, were young people ages 20-29, a shocking increase compared to last year’s 59 percent (138) in the same period. Evidently, the trend has been changing, revealing a sad reality that more and more young people are getting diagnosed with HIV, and without them knowing that they have the virus, they can also transmit it unknowingly to others.
With the changing lifestyle, social influence, and exposure to sex from various media sources without adequate knowledge in handling the information and not having corresponding parental guidance, these data seem to be not surprising. The number has been growing alarmingly fast, and taking into account the unreported cases, the human toll of infections and deaths would be likely much higher than the statistic itself.
Everyone, including young people, needs to be educated on HIV and AIDS. Increasing awareness is one initiative that could help bring this virus under control.
Unless all communities across the country would start to accept the fact that HIV and AIDS exist and causes a grave threat to our lives; and would take part in the efforts to prevent and control this virus, we are putting our people, especially the younger ones, at risk for HIV.
Source: Philippine HIV & AIDS August 2013 Registry