MANDALUYONG CITY, Philippines — On Friday, May 31, at Burgoo in The Podium, Ortigas Center, the Philippines Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) with the support of UNAIDS launch YES2Test, which urges citizens to voluntary have HIV testing through a bloggers’ forum. This is in commemoration of the 30th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial.
In March 2013 AIDS Registry shows that there are 12,791 cumulative HIV positive individuals since 1984, UNAIDS projects a total of 28,072 actual cases in the Philippines.
Ms. Teresita Marie Bagasao, UNAIDS Country Coordinator reveals, “Such discrepancy in figures is due to the wariness of the citizenry to have themselves tested of the virus. Since stigma and discrimination to Person Living with HIV (PLHIV) is too rampant, people don’t want to be tested.
“Worse, 50 percent of those who take the test do not go back for the results.”
In a recent article that came out on Interaksyon.com dated March 21, it mentioned that in General Santos City, around 50 residents in this said city have been confirmed to be suffering from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and more cases could be added to the list in the coming months, a local health official have said.
“With Yes2Test, PLCPD wishes to encourage people to have themselves tested of HIV.
“We are bringing this concern into the 16th Congress and as part of our mandate, we shall also urge our lawmakers to work on bills that would help prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS,” says PLCPD executive Director Rom Dongeto.
Of the 10,514 HIV positive cases reported from 1984 to 2013, 92% (9,637) were infected through sexual contact, 4% (420) through needle sharing among injecting drug users, 1% (59) through mother-to-child transmission, 1% (20) through blood transfusion and needle prick injury 1% (3). There was no data available for the 4% (375) of the cases.
Present in the forum are members of Bloggers for a Cause, Blogwatch and representatives from Kabataan Partylist. Sex columnist and public health journalist Ana Santos hosted the event.