Philippines among 7 countries with rising AIDS cases

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The Philippines is among seven countries with a steady increase in cases of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

The other countries with steadily increasing AIDS/HIV cases are Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan and Tajikistan.

During the World AIDS Day forum here yesterday, government epidemiologist Celia Flor Brillantes attributed the increase in AIDS cases to the high incidence of men having sex with men.

World AIDS Day is celebrated on Dec. 1 every year to raise awareness of the global AIDS epidemic. As of the end of 2010, at least 34 million people worldwide were living with AIDS/HIV, Brillantes said.

“That is why we need to continuously inform and educate the public on AIDS and enjoin everyone to take part in the awareness campaign,” Brillantes said.

Some 1,000 nightclub entertainers took part in the World AIDS Day forum here.

United Nations data showed that in the Philippines, most of the new cases of AIDS were men, who got the virus by having sex with other men.

The National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health (DOH) disclosed during the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) 2011 State of the World’s Children report in Quezon City this week that the predominant mode of sexual transmission has changed since 2007 from heterosexual sex to sex between men.

Dr. Eric Tayag, chief epidemiologist of the DOH, said that for every one female infected, four men had been infected through homosexual contact.

Of the 6,015 HIV cases recorded in the Philippines in 1984, 5,158 were asymptomatic and 857 have become full-blown AIDS. Of these, 4,999 were males and 1,305 were females.

In December 2010 alone, the DOH said 174 new cases were reported, or a 38 percent increase from the number of cases recorded during the same month in 2009.

The DOH identified three risk groups from which a majority of the country’s HIV patients come from: men who have sex with men, female sex workers, and injecting drug users.


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