Duterte signs HIV/AIDS Policy Act
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill that strengthens policies to prevent the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus - Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) and provide proper care for those who have been inflicted.
Duterte inked the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018 last December 20, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement.
"We consider its enactment and signing timely and relevant on account of the report of the Department of Health disclosing that our country has the highest percentage relative to the the increase of new HIV cases in the Asia-Pacific region from 2010 to 2016," he said.
More than 900 new cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were reported in November, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
The November 2018 HIV/AIDS Registry of the Philippines said there were 945 new HIV cases reported across the country. This higher than the 894 new HIV cases in November 2017.
The DOH also reported 37 deaths from HIV/AIDS for November.
Since 1984, there have been 61,152 HIV cases, with 6,970 AIDS cases and 2,983 deaths. From January to November, there are 10,550 new HIV cases, including 1,902 AIDS cases, and 525 deaths.
The number of cases significantly increased between 2013 and 2018.
Panelo said the Palace lauds the lawmakers, including various stakeholders who immensely contributed to the passage of an updated legal framework addressing HIV and AIDS.
"This piece of landmark legislation will significantly reduce the stigma of people living with HIV or AIDS," he said.
Panelo underscored the importance of the passage of the new law.
He said the Act provides for the establishment of policies and programs to prevent the spread of the aforesaid epidemic and, at the same time, deliver proper treatment, care and support services to Filipinos living with HIV in accordance with evidence-based strategies and approaches which are in tune with key principles of human rights, gender equality and meaningful participation of communities. Celerina Monte/DMS