UNAIDS: About 35,000 Pinoys may be Infected with HIV

2015-0321 UNAIDS About 35,000 Pinoys may be Infected with HIV

MANILA – The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) indicated on Thursday that, statistically, as many as 12,500 Filipinos believed infected with the disease are not yet included in the records of the Department of Health (DOH).

UNAIDS Country Director Teresita Bagasao disclosed in a press conference that the DOH has, so far, documented a total of 22,527 HIV/AIDS cases from 1984 to 2014.

But, she added, based on estimates, there should be around 35,000 cases in the Philippines now.

“No country, no matter how advance, can tally the exact number of people with HIV. They have what they call a range, from a lower to a higher estimate,” she said.

She pointed out, however, that one good thing with the Philippines is the epidemic is concentrated on a key population, primarily in MSM or men-who-have-sex-with-men.

According to Bagasao, the country is now experiencing a “fast and furious” trend in HIV/AIDS spread.

“How do you describe it? It means we have moved away from one infection every two days to 16 cases per day by the end of 2014. That’s one case every one and a half hours,” she added.

One of the reasons for the trend could be the low rate of condoms used “consistently and correctly.”

She also cited the rising infection trend among injecting drug users. The trend was first observed years ago in Cebu, where injecting drug users were reported sharing contaminated needles.

Bagasao said the intervention coverage for key population – MSM, injecting drug users and female sex workers is also low.

The coverage rates were pegged at 16 percent, 9.3 percent and 6.3 percent for MSM, respectively, for injecting drug users and female sex workers — or way below the 80-percent target.

“You may wonder why we continue to have an increasing trend. It is because of the lack of coverage as a factor. The figures speak for itself,” she said.

(Source: Jet Villa , InterAksyon.com)

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