New HIV cases drop in 2Q


    LESS than 1,000 new cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were reported to the Department of Health (DOH) during the second quarter of 2020.

    Based on the April to June 2020 HIV/AIDS Registry of the Philippines (HARP), there are a total of 934 newly-confirmed HIV cases in the country.

    The total cases is composed of the 257 in April, 187 in May, and 490 in June.

    Of the new cases, the DOH said 268 showed clinical manifestations of having advance HIV or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

    During the second quarter of 2020, the DOH also saw 86 HIV-related deaths.

    In a brief statement, DOH Epidemiology Bureau head Dr. Ferchito Avelino warned the public versus prematurely welcoming the significant drop in new HIV cases reported in the country.

    He said this is because the DOH believes that the drop was largely due to the strict community quarantines imposed by the government since mid-March amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

    “In March 2020, the majority of regions in the country were placed under community quarantine that entailed limitation in access to transportation and impeded human mobility. These challenges may have had an impact on the testing flow across the country, which resulted in low numbers of total reported HIV cases,” said the health official.

    “Consequently, downturn of figures and trends presented in April – June 2020 HARP report cannot be absolutely attributed to reduction of transmission. Henceforth, readers are advised to interpret the data with caution and consider other sources of data before arriving at any conclusions,” Avelino added.

    Based on the latest HARP report, sexual contact remained as the predominant mode of transmission at 918 (98%).

    Among the newly diagnosed cases, the DOH said 557 (60%) were acquired through male to male sex; 206 (22%) through males who have sex with both males and females; and 155 (17%) through male to female sex.

    Other modes of transmission was mother-to-child transmission (4), while 12 cases had no data on mode of transmission.

    More than a third (37%, 349) were from the National Capital Region (NCR), followed by Calabarzon (21%, 194), Central Luzon (19%, 176), Soccsksargen (7%, 63), and Davao Region (5%, 43) comprised the top five regions with the most number of newly diagnosed cases.

    For the first half of the year, there have already been 3,752 HIV cases, 741 AIDS cases, and 283 deaths.

    Since January 1984, there have already been 78,559 HIV cases, 10,006 AIDS cases, and 4,011 deaths.