NEW cases of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the Philippines have breached the 600 mark for the first time last February.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), 646 new HIV cases were reported in February, 33 percent higher than in the same period last year (486 cases).
Of the 646 new cases, the highest in a month since recording began in 1984, 43 have progressed into full-blown Aids.
Seventeen patients, on the other hand, died.
Almost 91 percent (586) of the new cases were acquired through sexual transmission, mostly from the men-having-sex-with-men (MSM) population, which accounted for 492 cases or 84 percent.
Homosexual contact was responsible for 310 cases (53 percent); followed by bisexual contact with 182 cases (31 percent); and 94 cases (16 percent) from heterosexual contact.
Injecting drug use accounted for 58 new cases while mother-to-child transmission netted two cases.
A total of 67 new cases among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), meanwhile, have been reported with all but one coming from sexual transmission. The other one was a result of injecting drug use transmission.
Among OFWs infected through sexual contact, 30 were through homosexual, 22 bisexual, and 14 heterosexual intercourse.
The February data bring to 1,182 the number of HIV cases recorded in just the first two months of the year, with 104 already developing into Aids cases and 31 deaths.
Since 1984, there are already 23,709 HIV cases recorded in the country, including 2,153 Aids cases and 1,149 deaths. (HDT/Sunnex)
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