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Philippines: HIV The health department said of the new

cases in 2017, more than 95 percent

cases up 3,147 involved male transmission. A total of


38 cases involved minors under 15
years old.
percent in 10 years
With a population of more than 100
million, the number of HIV cases in the
Philippines remains low. But in terms
of percentage increase, the UN said in
August 2017 the country has the fastest
growing HIV epidemic in the Asia-
Pacific region in recent years.

"Policies restricting access to condoms


are a threat to public health," Conde s
aid in a statement to Al Jazeera, citing
the spread of HIV and the continued
Critics say President Duterte's high maternal mortality rate.
statement deriding condom use as 'not
satisfying' harms advocacy to prevent In a statement posted on social media,
HIV. Risa Hontiveros, an opposition senator,
wrote: "It's not satisfying if you use
New HIV cases continued to increase condoms? Try HIV-AIDS and teenage
in the Philippines in 2017, with a 3,147 pregnancy."
percent surge since 2007, according to
an Al Jazeera analysis of the latest data Meanwhile, Ronnievinn Pagtakhan, a
published by the country's health top Filipino advocate of HIV-AIDS
agency, bucking a downward trend prevention, told Al Jazeera the increase
worldwide. of HIV cases continues to be
"alarming.
In a February 2018 report, the
Philippine Department of Health said "There is an epidemic," he said, noting
11,103 new cases were reported in of the 100-120 people getting tested
2017, up 19.85 percent from the 9,264 daily at a health centre he runs in
cases in 2016. Manila, between 8-10 percent test
positive.
Compared with the 342 HIV infections
reported in 2007, the 2017 figure is Pagtakhan also pointed out the increase
3,147 percent higher. in the number of new cases could be
attributed to more awareness about
In contrast, new HIV cases reported HIV among the population.
worldwide had gone down, from 2.1
million in 2015 to 1.8 million in 2016, While sex is "a very personal matter", it
according to the latest figures provided is necessary that Filipinos must be
by the World Health Organization and well-informed about their options and
the UN AIDS Programme. consequences of their behaviour, he
said.
The latest report from the Philippines
comes after President Rodrigo Duterte "In view of the explosive growth in the
was recently quoted as saying that number of HIV infections in the
Filipinos should follow the Philippines, we need more
government's reproductive health conversations rather than quick
programme, but avoid using condoms judgement and hate."
because "it is not satisfying."