AIDS advocates alarmed over HIV surge; urge Congress and Malacaņang to pass RH bill
Manila (3 June) -- The number of Filipinos diagnosed with HIV unprecedented rose, in 2009 the monthly average is now 60 a month.
The statistics would show that it rose almost four times compared to the yearly statistics of 1999, from January to April 2009, 237 were diagnosed to be living with HIV compared to last years' accumulated data of the same time which was 177.
Girls, Women, and HIV and AIDS Network (GWHAN) cited this worsening problem as they called for the immediate passage of the RH bill recognizing also that most of those diagnosed (68%) in 2009 are in their most productive years (20-39 y/o), it should also be noted that 17% of the recorded HIV positives are OFWs and more of those being recorded is coming from the general population specially the youth. This was recorded by the National Epidemiology Center (NEC).
"This alarming data supports the call for the immediate passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill now being deliberated in both the Houses of Congress. Moreover, the widespread disinformation, misinformation about and increased demonizing of the condom such as information that some condoms are now infected with the HIV virus must be disproved with accurate data" said Marlon T. Lacsamana Program Officer of the Institute for Social Studies and Action (ISSA), GWHAN's network chair.
GWHAN members agreed during their May 29, 2009 general assembly meeting that as pioneers and leaders of the HIV advocacy, to register their support for the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill (HB 5043 & SB 3122) and to steadfastly stand behind organized groups and networks advocating its immediate passage. The RH Bill if passed into law would serve as an enforcer of the RA 8504 or the "AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1988" where it mandates DepED, TESDA and CHED in Article 1 SECTION 4 in utilizing official information provided by the Department of Health, and shall integrate instruction on the causes, modes of transmission and ways of preventing HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases in subjects taught in public and private schools at intermediate grades, secondary and tertiary levels, including non-formal and indigenous learning systems: Provided, that if the integration of HIV/AIDS education is not appropriate or feasible, the DECS and TESDA shall design special modules on HIV/AIDS prevention and control.
Reproductive health which includes HIV prevention and care & support as one of its key elements is a right upheld in various international documents to which the Philippines is a signatory, notably the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), 1994 UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Beijing Platform for Action, 2001 United Nations Special Session on AIDS (UNGASS), 1st & 2nd Regional Consultative Meeting on Universal Access to HIV Prevention and AIDS Treatment, Care and Support in Low Prevalence Countries. (ISSA/PIA 12) [top]