MANILA – A total of 1,962 people, mostly male, were found to be infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in July and August this year, the Department of Health’s (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau reported.

Of the figure, 858 cases were recorded in July and 1,104 in August, according to the latest report of the HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP) issued on Wednesday.

Of the 1,962 cases, 250 were found to have developed full-blown Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), while 1,712 did not show symptoms at the time of reporting.

Some 118 deaths were reported during the period.

Of the new HIV cases, 95 percent or 1,873 were men, and 89 were women, 18 of whom were pregnant.

Some 1,146 of the new cases were acquired through homosexual contact, 512 through bisexual contact, and 234 through heterosexual contact, while 35 caught the disease by sharing infected needles. Seven cases were mother-to-child transmissions.

No data was available for the remaining 28 cases.

The median age of the HIV patients was 27 years old. Of the 1,962 cases, more than half or 1,009 belonged to the 25-34 age bracket; 610 were in the 15-24 age group; 301 were 35-49 years old; 35 were at least 50 years old; and seven were younger than 15 years old.

From July to August, 98 youths aged 10-19 years were reported to HARP – 67 of them acquired the virus through homosexual contact, 20 through bisexual contact, and eight through heterosexual contact.

The July-August 2017 HARP report also indicated that 154 of the new cases were overseas Filipino workers. All but four acquired the virus through sexual contact.

The National Capital Region (NCR) topped the regions with 732 HIV cases, followed by Calabarzon with 344, Central Luzon (179), Central Visayas (144), Western Visayas (121), and Davao (116).

The new cases bring to 7,383 the HIV cases recorded nationwide in the first eight months of the year, with 891 AIDS cases and 334 deaths; and to 46,985 since AIDS was first reported in the country in 1984, with 4,556 progressing to AIDS and 2,303 resulting in death.

To address the problem, the DOH has been encouraging free and voluntary testing so that those at risk would know their status and avail of anti-retroviral therapy (ART). A total of 22,413 persons living with HIV are on ART.

Those at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS are also given counseling in a bid to prevent and control the spread of the deadly disease. (PNA)