MANILA, Philippines?The Department of Health recorded 174 new HIV cases in December 2010, bringing the total number of infections for the entire 2010 to 1,591, the highest since the agency began gathering monthly data on the dreaded disease way back in 1984.
Statistics from the DOH's Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry Report released on Thursday showed that HIV/AIDS cases totaled 6,016 from 1984 to 2010. It was the first time that the infections breached the 6,000 mark.
DOH data show that of the 6,016 cases monitored since 1984, about 833 were reported to have developed into full-blown AIDS and 315 were reported to have died of AIDS.
Before December's 174 new cases, the highest tally was recorded in April 2010, when 154 new cases were reported.
Ironically, the government observes AIDS Awareness Month every December.
HIV stands for the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, a condition in which the body?s immune systems are severely undermined, which could lead to full-blown AIDS and then death. A cure for AIDS has yet to be found although there are drugs that can delay the HIV infection from becoming full-blown AIDS.
Of the 174 new cases in December, three were reported to have progressed to full-blown AIDS cases bringing the total number of new AIDS cases for the entire 2010 to 20.
In December, about 97 percent of the cases came from sexual contact, with 168 cases. The other five new cases were transmitted through injecting drug use while the last one did not identify the mode of transmission.
Also, 14 of the new HIV cases were found to be male overseas Filipino workers, all of whom acquired the virus through sexual contact.
Of the 1,591 cases for 2010, about 95 percent were males aged 19 to 41 years old who got infected through sexual contact.