The Philippines is one of only a handful of countries that continue to see an increase in HIV cases and this past May, a whopping 748 cases were reported. This is the most cases reported on the archipelago in the past two and one-half years.
This is a more than 50 percent increase in cases compared to the same period last year.
The huge increase is being at least partially attributed to free voluntary screening conducted by the DOH nationwide during the National HIV Testing Week in May. According to Health Secretary Janette Garin late last week, “During the free voluntary testing, we saw that many are infected with the virus without them knowing it.”
In fact, it is reported that 95 percent of the cases were asymptomatic at the time of reporting.
This number did not come unexpected to Philippines health officials as they expected an up to 20 percent increase in cases due to the aggressive testing campaign.
According to UNAIDS, unlike in other parts of the world, the AIDS Epidemic in the Philippines has been growing rapidly. In 2000, only one new case every three days was diagnosed. However, by the end of 2013, there was already one new case every two hours.