AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. By killing or damaging cells of the body's immune system, HIV progressively destroys the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers. People diagnosed with AIDS may get life-threatening diseases called opportunistic infections. These infections are caused by microbes such as viruses or bacteria that usually do not make healthy people sick It is a major epidemic worldwide and Philippines is no exception. Since the first cases of HIV/AIDS were reported in 1984 in Philippines, 1,515 HIV infections, including 508 AIDS cases and 196 HIV/AIDS related deaths, had been reported by June 2001. According to youandaids.org, the epidemic in the Philippines has been classified as low level. As of January 2004, the National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health recorded 1979 cases of people with HIV/AIDS of which 1343 (68%) were asymptomatic and 636 (32%) were AIDS cases at the time of the report. Of the total AIDS cases, 257 (40%) were already dead due to AIDS-related complications. Yet this is one of the lowest infection rates in the world, this in a country that has one of the lowest rates of condom usage in Asia. This in a country that has anywhere from half a million to 2 million sex workers, a good majority of whom don't require their customers to wear condoms. This in a nation that has more than 7 million overseas workers, separated from spouses and often engaging in risky sexual behavior. This in a country that, as of the moment, has practically no awareness program to teach the exploding population of young people about the dangers of HIV/AIDS. HIV infection is found in all regions of the country, although it appears to be concentrated in the urban areas of Luzon, Mindanao, and Visayas Islands. Sexual intercourse remains the predominant mode of transmission, accounting for up to 86 percent of all infections. Of the total HIV and AIDS cases, 1145 were men (62 per cent.) The...
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