MANILA – A total of 936 people were found to be infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) last September, the Department of Health’s (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau reported.

Of the figure, 806 did not show any symptom of HIV, 130 had full-blown Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), and 40 had died of the disease, according to the latest HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP) report.

Of the 936 HIV/AIDS cases, 904 were male and 32 were female, five of whom were pregnant. Their median age was 28 years old. Half of the cases or 469 belonged to the 25 to 34 age bracket, and 31 percent or 286 to the 15 to 24 age group. A total of 40 teenagers were reported to HARP.

Of the 40 who succumbed to the illness, 18 were aged 25 to 34 years old; 15 were 35 to 49 years; five were in the 15 to 24 age bracket; and two were more than 50 years old.

A total of 908 acquired the virus through sexual contact, 87 percent or 548 of whom were infected through homosexual contact; 246 through bisexual contact; and 114 through heterosexual contact. Some 23 cases were attributed to needle-sharing among injecting drug users.

The National Capital Region (NCR) logged the most number of cases with 348; followed by Calabarzon (147); Central Visayas (93); Central Luzon (87); Davao (56); Western Visayas (54); and 151 from the rest of the country.

The report also noted that of the recorded cases in September, 103 engaged in transactional sex, mostly male whose ages ranged from 18 to 61 years; and 65 were overseas Filipino workers.

That month, 746 patients started on anti-retroviral therapy (ART).

The September figures bring to 8,299 the total number of HIV cases reported nationwide in the first nine months of the year, with 1,021 AIDS cases and 374 deaths; and to 47,921 since HIV was first reported in January 1984, with 4,686 AIDS cases, and 2,343 deaths.

The DOH has been encouraging those at risk of contracting the disease to avail of free testing; and those who test positive for the virus to avail of free treatment.

A total of 23,307 persons living with HIV are on ART. (PNA/Photo courtesy of Rom Dulfo)