Health chief lauds signing of HIV-AIDS law; 945 new HIV cases recorded

By Betheena Unite

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III lauded the recent signing into law of the Philippine Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV-AIDS) Act.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (AP Photo/Aaron Favila / MANILA BULLETIN) Health Secretary Francisco Duque III
(AP Photo/Aaron Favila / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The signing of the Philippine HIV and AIDS Act is a huge step forward in responding to the growing HIV epidemic in the Philippines,” Duque said.

The secretary noted that with the signing of the law, the right support for people living with HIV-AIDS will be provided.

“The law provides comprehensive education and prevention programs for PLHIV (people living with HIV) and their families. It also enables minors 15 years of age to get tested for HIV,” Duque said.

Duque furthered that while the new law has been enacted, the next step of the government, including the Department of Health is “to be able to properly execute the law by developing an Implementing Rules and Regulations to guide executive officials in implementing the law, as well as the public in how to comply with the law.

“A stronger collaboration is key to attaining our vision of an HIV-free country. The road ahead will be long and our climb will be steep, but we will thrive and win against HIV and AIDS,” he said.

Latest data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that 945 newly-diagnosed HIV cases were recorded in November 2018.

Ninety-five percent or 900 of the newly-diagnosed HIV cases were male. Among the diagnosed women, six were pregnant during the diagnosis.

Most of the new recorded cases were from the National Capital Region.

Since January 1984, when the first the first case of HIV infection in the Philippines was reported, there have been 61, 152 confirmed HIV cases reported to the HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines, the DOH said.

Read more: Duterte signs HIV-AIDS law