Sen. Risa Hontiveros, vice chairwoman of the Senate health committee, asked the Duterte administration to declare a ‘national emergency due to the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the country.
Hontiveros made the call following a report of a United Nations (UN) agency that the Philippines has the highest incidence of HIV-AIDS infection in the Asia-Pacific region.
The HIV-AIDS prevention and treatment plan should be ‘’evidence-based, human rights-informed, and gender-transformative,’’ she said.
Hontiveros said that the government must immediately formulate a six-year National Multi-Sectoral HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan that would incorporate a prevention program that would have ‘’a strong focus on education and accessibility of reproductive health services.’’
The Duterte administration should maximize new developments in prevention and treatment that are available, she stressed.
Hontiveros said that early diagnosis leads to early treatment and saves lives.
In May 2017 alone, 1,098 new cases of HIV-AIDS were reported, the highest recorded number of cases in the country since 1984 when infections were first record.
The new cases of infection are mostly from men having sex with men and transgender women.
Hontiveros said that stigma remains one of the major reasons for the spread of the virus.