The United States Embassy in Manila on Tuesday, Dec. 1, announced the launching of a P875 million ($18.2 million) President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program to address the increasing number of people who are living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) in the Philippines.
In a statement, the US Embassy said the committed funding will be implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, and U.S. Department of Defense in the span of over two years.
The launching coincides with the observance of World AIDS Day, which takes place every 1st of December of each year.
Recent data from the DOH-Epidemiology Bureau of the Philippines estimates that more than 110,000 Filipinos are living with HIV in 2020, a number that ranks the country as the fastest-growing HIV epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region.
Of that number, 37,000 have not been diagnosed, and among those previously diagnosed, at least 18,500 still need to be enrolled in life-saving antiretroviral (ART) therapy.