26 new HIV cases daily worries rights group
A human-rights group says the Philippines is facing one of the fastest growing epidemics of HIV in the Asia Pacific, fuelled by government policies that restrict intervention, including access to condoms by men who have sex with men.
Human Rights Watch said in a report released last Thursday that HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men has increased tenfold in the last five years, but the government has failed to adequately target prevention measures on that population.
It said HIV prevention education in Philippine schools is woefully inadequate, commercial marketing of condoms is non-existent, and barriers to condom access and HIV testing - particularly those below 18 who are required by law to have parental consent - have contributed to the worsening epidemic.
Peter Mosende, a country officer of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS or UNAIDS, said the Philippines has the highest rate of new HIV infections in the Asia-Pacific region, with new cases increasing by more than 100 per cent from 2001 to 2015.
For the first 10 months of this year, 7,756 new HIV cases were recorded. From one new case a day in 2008, today 26 new infections are recorded daily.