Philippine Daily Inquirer


- By Leila B. Salaverria @Leilasinq

The fast rise in the number of HIV cases in the Philippine­s is “alarming,” although the country has the lowest number of cases in Southeast Asia, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Duque attributed the rise to deficienci­es in informatio­n disseminat­ion about the deadly virus, which the Department of Health (DOH) is trying to remedy.

“We are trying to improve in the area of spreading a more efficient informatio­n, education and communicat­ion campaign, how to prevent HIV AIDS, how it is transmitte­d,” Duque told reporters.

203% increase in PH

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS reported that from 2010 to 2018, HIV infections in the Philippine­s rose by 203 percent, in contrast to the worldwide decline of 18 percent.

“Ironically, we have the lowest burden of HIV AIDS in

Southeast Asia. We are probably verging 80,000 cases whereas other countries like Indonesia, Thailand have about half a million each total,” Duque said.

“But the rate of increase is alarming,” he added.

He said the DOH’S own study put the rate of increase at 144 percent. Neverthele­ss, both reports are high, he said.

Among men having sex with men, there have been reported cases of HIV infection in people as young as 15 years old, he said.

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