HIV-AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) has been a taboo term for many years. To be associated with the term, much more being diagnosed with it, would make the common person uncomfortable just thinking about.
But this generation will now further end the stigma against HIV-AIDS with the signing of Republic Act No. 11166, also known as the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018. Malacañang announced last Tuesday, Jan. 8, that President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the act into law.
With this movement, the Philippines will be seeing an increase of proper care and support provision for those diagnosed with HIV-AIDS. The government will now also allocate more funds to promote HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, and require schools and communities to spread awareness about public health concerns. Penalties will be given out to those who will discriminate against individuals who are HIV-positive.
This counts as a big step for the country as, according to the Department of Health (DoH), the Philippines had the highest increase percentage of HIV cases in the Asia-Pacific region from 2010 to 2016. The DoH said that 61,152 HIV cases have been recorded since 1984 (10,550 in the first 11 months of 2018), 57,235 of which were male.
The government will also be encouraging voluntary HIV testing, provided that written consent from test-takers is obtained (especially minors). HIV testing will be compulsory for those who wish to donate blood.
People should not hesitate to head to a nearby clinic and have themselves tested for HIV-AIDS. The Good Life recently visited a new clinic in the metro that provides quick and accurate medical services, including examinations for HIV and drug testing.
A version of this story was posted on Manila Bulletin.