For the first time since 1984, the Department of Health (DOH) has reported the highest number of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases in the country.
Dr. Eric Tayag, director of the National Epidemiology Center of the DOH, said on Tuesday that the month of March saw the highest number of HIV cases ever reported in over two decades.
Based on the latest Philippine HIV and AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) registry, the number of individuals who acquired the virus has increased by 82 percent or 313 persons.
In March last year, 172 persons were found HIV-positive.
As of March 2012, the bulk of the new HIV cases came from the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) with 47 percent; followed by Central Visayas, 15 percent; and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) with 13 percent.
Out of the 313 new cases, the registry said the cases of 16 men and one woman have progressed into full-blown AIDS cases, bringing to 30 the number of AIDS cases from January to March 2012.
Of the AIDS patients in January to March this year, three had died— two were males and one was female with median age of 33.
Sexual contact remained the main mode of transmission in 280 of the cases: homosexual contact, 143; bisexual contact, 89; and heterosexual contact, 48.
SARA D. FABUNAN