Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has directed the City Pride Council (CPC) to include mandatory HIV-AIDS testing for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) community members in their future programs.
“HIV testing should be mandatory in our projects. There is a strong rise of HIV in the Philippines particularly in Manila and more specifically in Quezon City. And HIV or AIDS happens because of MSM or males having sex with males,” Bautista said during the pride council held this week.
Quezon City has three sundown clinics that cater specifically to individuals vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases located in Barangay Pinagkaisahan, Project 7, and Novaliches that are open from 3 in the afternoon to 11 in the evening.
These clinics offer free counselling, free HIV testing, diagnosis and treatment of other sexually transmitted infections, education, distribution and proper use of condoms, hepatitis B testing and vaccination, and anti-retro viral therapy.
“CPC leaders should encourage people with HIV not to hide because we will take care of them. Not to baby them but to treat them normally and help them seek treatment. They should not be pushed away, they should be encouraged to be part of society,” Bautista said.
United Nations data recently revealed that the Philippines has the highest HIV infection growth rate in Asia-Pacific, with a 140-percent increase in the number of infections in 2016.
Last year, about 10,500 Filipinos were infected with the HIV virus, up from 4,300 in 2010 according to the Department of Health.