SUBIC, Zambales (MindaNews/14 July) – The number of people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus in the Philippines will reach 133,000 by 2022 based on the current rate of infections, a health official said Thursday.
Dr. Genesis May Samonte, program manager of the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health, said the figure means P4 billion a year from PhilHealth.
Samonte, speaking during a media seminar here on reporting HIV and AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), said the number of infections has kept increasing since 2001.
“This is the HIV generation, and it’s here to stay for at least 10-15 years,” she said.
In 2001, only one infection was reported per day. It increased to four in 2010 and to 14 in 2014, went down to nine in 2012, but rose to 25 cases per day in 2015, she said.
She clarified the figures are an underestimate since not many people submit themselves to HIV testing.
From January 1984 to May 2016, the country has recorded 34,158 HIV cases, Samonte said.
Citing date from the HIV/AIDS and Anti-Retroviral Treatment Registry of the Philippines (HARP), the official said 91% (31,088) of the reported cases were asymptomatic at the time of reporting.
Ninety-two percent (31,573) were male and 2,574 were female. The rest did not report gender.
From 1984-1990, 62% of the cases were female. But beginning in 1991, more males were reported to be infected with HIV in the Philippines, HARP data showed.
From 2011-2016, males comprised 95% (26,876) of the reported 28,143 cases, it added.
Samonte further noted that the age bracket of people with HIV has become younger.
From 2001-2005, it was 35-49, but from 2006-2016, it was 25-34, she said.
She cited that the 15-24 year age group increased from 25% in 2006-2010 to 28% in 2011-2016.
The official said the number of pregnant women diagnosed with HIV has also increased over the years.
She said 11 pregnant were diagnosed with the disease in 2012; 15 in 2013; 18 in 2014; 40 in 2015; and 29 from January to May this year.
She said women with HIV/AIDS transmit the disease to their babies.
These babies die upon reaching 3-7 years old, or after their mothers have died, she added.