The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) continues to report alarmingly high numbers of HIV and AIDS cases as they gear up to battle the epidemic with a new campaign,  LHIVE FREE.

“The number of Filipinos affected by HIV and AIDS have drastically increased over the last couple of years,” shared DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III. “Just over the past decade, the average rate of new HIV cases in the Philippines has grown from one per day to 31 per day. And this figure does not include undocumented cases.

Image/Howard the Duck
Image/Howard the Duck

Philippines has the fastest growing HIV epidemic in Asia

“We also currently have the highest percent of increase of new HIV cases in the Asia and Pacific region from 2010 to 2016, at 133%.

“More than anyone else, we at DOH take this very seriously, that’s why we’ve decided to partner with people and organizations that will allow us to address the root cause of this growing epidemic,” he added.

The DOH said sexual contact among males who have sex with males (MSM) was the predominant mode of transmission among males with 84 percent accounting for the total transmission, followed by male-female sex at 11 percent, and sharing of infected needles.

LHIVE FREE is a campaign created by the DOH and Integrative Competitive Intelligence Asia (ICI Asia). Using modern means to disseminate information about HIV and AIDS, as well as to promote safer sex, LHIVE FREE aims to make conversations about the virus a normal thing among today’s youth.

HIV in the Philippines: Increase in cases, new strain and drug resistance

“We need to equip people with the right knowledge about HIV and AIDS. Often times, they are not open to talking about anything that has to do with the disease in general because they see it as something that’s very distant from them, when in fact, there’s a big chance that someone they know might already be infected by the virus—and there’s an even bigger chance that that person infected by the virus is not aware that he or she has it already,” Secretary Duque said.

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