Quezon City passes ordinance for people with HIV

Published December 3, 2021, 10:50 PM

by Manila Bulletin

By Khriscielle Yalao

The Quezon City Council has passed an ordinance seeking to strengthen the city’s mechanisms in the delivery of treatment and care services to People Living with HIV (PLHIV).

Authored by Councilor Lena Marie Juico, the ordinance was passed on World Aids Day (Dec. 1) as part of the local government’s strategy to control and prevent the spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

The measure is also in line with the city’s #ZeroAt2030 campaign which targets zero cases, deaths, and discrimination for PLHIV by 2030.

It adopts Republic Act No. 11166 or the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act and highlights the importance of erasing the stigma and discrimination against the people afflicted with the disease.

As of Sept. 7, around 173 Quezon City residents were diagnosed positive for HIV, 62% (or 4,433) are on treatment, according to the QC Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (QCESU).

The implementation of the comprehensive STI, HIV, AIDS Prevention and Control Action Plan is mandated to be developed and reviewed by the Quezon City STI, HIV, and AIDS Council (QCSAC), comprising of the Office of the City Mayor as the chairperson, the Office of the Vice-Mayor as vice-chairperson, and the Quezon City Health Department as the secretariat.

According to the ordinance, the council can invite stakeholders such as government agencies, NGOs, and other experts as needed.

“Our treatment coverage is aligned with the national average, but it falls 33% short of the UNAIDS’ interim target of 95%. Meanwhile, our viral load testing coverage is only at 29% which again is below the 95% target. We propose to address these by coming up with a comprehensive Service Delivery Network (SDN),” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.