The Filipino LGBT Europe welcomes the new Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018 as a significant breakthrough in the country’s health policies.
A six-year plan to prevent and control the spread of HIV and AIDS will be implemented under the law, which requires the Department of Health to establish a program to provide free and accessible treatment and medication to all persons living with HIV and AIDS. The Department of Social Welfare and Development will develop care and support programs which includes counseling, support, social protection and welfare assistance.
This law is needed now more than ever as Philippines is reported to have the fastest growing HIV AIDS epidemic in Asia-Pacific from 2010 to 2016. Philippines is also one of only 9 countries in the world that recorded more than 25 percent increase in HIV incidence.
“This law ensures the dissemination of information pertaining to free health care for people living with HIV. This is a very important aspect as it confirms the standard of professionalism in our health industry,” Chris Sta. Brigida, chairman and founder of Filipino LGBT Europe said.
Consent for HIV Test
Another major landmark provision in the law enables minors 15-17 years old to give consent for taking an HIV test.
Around 30 percent of new cases of HIV infections from the past 10 years are from the age group between 15 and 24 years of old. The updated legal framework enables early detection of HIV infections among young people.
“With the passing of this new law, heath workers in the Philippines can now guide, educate and give medical care to anyone who needs help. We should give them the option to learn how to love and take care of their own body once they decided to become sexually active,” Sta. Brigida added.
Filipinos in Europe enjoy this right and freedom as most countries in Europe provide free health care and services to its residents. Due to the availability of anti-retroviral therapy in Europe, deaths from AIDS have remained low since the late 1990s.
The organization is looking forward to conducting a workshop conference regarding HIV AIDS in December 2019.