DOH data show HIV cases up in 2015

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(CNN Philippines) — The number of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases in the country that tested positive went up, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

Based on their figures as of December 2015, there are more than a hundred new cases of HIV compared to the same period in 2014.

As of December 2015, health officials have recorder 650 HIV cases — compared to just 509 in the same period the year before.

Same data show that there has been a sudden increase of cases, from 17 reported cases per day in 2014 to 22 cases per day in 2015.

DOH also said nine out of 10 patients do not show symptoms, and are males.  More than hald of these patients are between 25 to 34 years old.

The region with the highest number of HIV incidents is National Capital Region (NCR) with 250 positive cases, followed by CALABARZON with 98, Central Luzon with 62, Davao with 54, and Central Visayas with 48.

The DOH recorded 461 reported deaths of HIV cases last year.

Sudden rise of HIV cases in Baguio City

With 65 cases, Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) is among the regions with the least HIV cases, which makes up only 1 percent of the country's total.

Baguio City, however, saw a sudden rise in HIV cases, increasing by 21 percent, according to the Social Hygiene Clinic of the Baguio City Health Center.

DOH-Cordillera recorded 47 cases of HIV in the city last year.  The province of Abra recorded 8 cases, while Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao and Mountain Province each recorded a positive case.

Most of the cases in CAR are attributed to male-to-male sexual contact.

The DOH also named mother-to-child transmission and needle-sharing among drug users as other modes of HIV transmission in the country.

Authorities said the youngest case recorded in Cordillera is a two-year-old child who acquired the virus from the mother.

About 224 HIV cases in the region were recorded by the health department in more than two decades.

Social Hygiene Clinic Head Dr. Celia Flor Brillantes, however, clarified that the cases recorded were not solely from the region since Baguio City has become an HIV-AIDS treatment hub in Northern Luzon.

Free voluntary HIV testing

The United Nations Joint Venture on AIDS said the Philippines is "one of only a handful of countries at risk of a full-blown AIDS epidemic if it is unable to address the problem on time."

To address the growing number of HIV cases, the DOH implemented the HIV/STI Prevention Program.

This aims to reduce the transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among at-risk groups, such as males who have sexual intercourse with fellow males.

The program includes free voluntary HIV testing, peer education and community assemblies.