• HIV cases among youth rising

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    BAGUIO CITY: A Forum for FP and Development (The Forum) said the latest government data show that the rate of HIV infection among adolescents has been escalating during the last five years.

    “From 2011 to 2015, cases among young key affected populations have increased by 230%,” Chi Laigo Vallido of The Forum said.

    “The Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) estimates that we have 25 new HIV infections everyday, and there are no signs of slowing down unless we accelerate efforts to educate Filipinos, remove fears and stigma and encourage high-risk populations to get tested,” said Nilda de Vera, Program Coordinator of Health Action Information Network (HAIN), an NGO which has been working on HIV/AIDS and RH issues for 30 years. HAIN is a member of the PNAC.

    It is estimated that there are 33 million people living with HIV today.

    “In 2008, the DOH tracks one new HIV infection per day. But now we are in the double digits at 25 cases in seven year,” Vallido said, adding that “among adolescents with HIV, only 25 percent are linked to care and are able to access treatment.”

    The group appealed to the incoming administration to be more aggressive in tackling the issue of HIV and AIDS in the country.

    “Right now, we have PNAC, but the office is poorly funded, their roles are limited even if the members are the country’s leading experts, and only a number of local government established AIDS Councils are functioning and doing their mandate,”

    Vallido said.

    THOM PICAÑA

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