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August 29, 2008

HIV Infections Rise 45 Percent in Philippines

New HIV infections in the Philippines rose 45 percent since 2006, Agence France-Presse reports. According to a report from the country’s health department, an average of 29 new HIV/AIDS cases were recorded each month compared with 20 monthly cases in previous years.

Experts attribute the Philippines’ heightened HIV incidence to low condom use among female sex workers, injection drug users and men who have sex with men (MSM) or who have had sex with multiple partners.

The report shows that while HIV transmission through heterosexual contact fell from 193 to 129 between 2006 and 2007, transmission through same-sex contact rose 32 percent to 107 cases during that same time period.

“Although the Philippines remains a low-prevalence country, it should not be a reason to be complacent as statistics and trends show that the number of those infected are on the rise,” said Francisco Duque, the country’s health secretary. “[The country needs to focus on] prevention activities geared toward vulnerable populations and a scaled up response for making available affordable treatments and control interventions.”

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