As reported by the United Nations, Philippines has the highest HIV infection rate in the Asia Pacific region, making it a matter of pressing concern. The Health Ministry of Philippines and UN have confirmed that the HIV/AIDS epidemic has recorded an alarming growth of 140% in the country over the last 6 years.
As disclosed by Health Minister, Paulyn Ubial, there were only 4,300 Filipinos affected by HIV/IADS in 2010 – compared the more recent figures of 10,500 towards the end of 2016. In a press conference earlier this year, Ms. Ubial encouraged Filipinos to undergo voluntary HIV-testing and use condoms to fight the problem. As a result, in May 2017 alone, more than 1,098 new cases of HIV infections were reported in the Philippines.
According to Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS regional support team director for Asia-Pacific – 83% of the new HIV+ have been reported amongst males who have sex with males and transgender women who have sex with males. This implies that at present, males who have sex with males are at a higher risk of contracting the disease.
Further, data has also revealed that the age groups of every two out of three cases reported in males lied between 15 – 24 years of age. Most of them has insufficient knowledge of the disease, it’s symptoms and treatment and got themselves tested only 6 -8 years later.
However, Eamonn Murphy adds that the situation can be brought under control by 2030 if the Filipino government focuses it’s resources on areas with maximum affected population.
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