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Filipino HIV Positive Still Increasing

HIV spread among Filipinos alarming

The government will likely have to spend approximately P1.38 billion annually by 2015 to provide treatment to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive Filipinos, an administration lawmaker said Friday.

LPGMA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty said the figure was based on the projection that some 46,000 HIV-positve Filipinos may require treatment by 2015, multiplied by P30,000 per head based on the cost of the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp.”s Outpatient HIV/AIDS Treatment Package, which pays the amount per year for each patient.

Ty is one of the authors of a bill seeking to renew the country’s  15-year-old AIDS Prevention and Control Law.

HIV causes AIDS, or the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The disease that ravages the human body’s immune system still does not have any known cure. However, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) can slow down the ailment.

The multi-sectoral Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) has warned that up to 46,000 Filipinos could be diagnosed with HIV by 2015.

Citing official figures, the lawmaker said a total of 3,115 HIV-positive Filipinos were on ART as of September 2012, up by 50 percent from only 2,087 in January 2012.
Meanwhile, 284 new HIV cases were diagnosed in the country in November 2012, up 34 percent compared to the 212 reported in the same month of 2011, he said.
The new cases discovered 275 males and nine females have a median age of 28 years, while those in the 20 to 29 group compromising 52 percent.

Except for two injecting drug users, all of the new cases were contaminated due to sexual contact, with males having sex with other males accounting for 82 percent, the law maker said.
The new cases included 35 overseas Filipino workers (32 males, three females), who all acquired the virus via sexual contact.

Citing National Epidemiology Center Statistics, Ty said the new infections brought to 3,045 the cumulative number of new HIV cases discovered from January to November 2012, up to 46 percent versus the 2,081 spotted in the same 11-month period in 2011. He said the Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry, which began passive surveillance of the disease in 1984, now lists an aggregate of 11,409 cases, of which 61 percent, or 6,985 infections were detected from 2010 onward.
The Philippines is one of only seven countries in the world struggling to cope with rapidly increasing new HIV infections, he said.

He warned that while the spread of HIV has slowed in many parts of the world, it has been growing at an alarming rate in the Philippines, Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, according to the World Health Organization.
The House of Representatives has already passed on second reading the bill mandating forceful new strategies to suppress the HIV epidemic.

House Bill 6751 directs the PNAC to draw up a fresh six-year program with definite targets to reverse the average 62 percent annual increase in the new HIV cases in the country since 2010.
HIV is being spread in the country primarily through high-risk sexual contact, predominantly male-to-male sex, and secondarily via needle-sharing among illicit drug users, according to the Department of Health.

Written by Paulo Romero 
source: Philippine Star
Health & Family
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