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New HIV cases up 3,147% in the Philippines as crisis gets worse

Written by gaytourism

Photo: Twitter via @AsCorrespondent

HIV in the Philippines has been described as a national emergency, with the latest figures confirming the worst.

New HIV cases in 2017 hit 11,103, which was an almost 20% jump on 2016’s figure of 9,264 cases.

That means in the past 10 years, HIV diagnoses have gone up 3,147% from just 342 cases in 2007.

The Philippines Department of Health [DOH] released the alarming figures in its February Health Report.

Philippines’ ‘terrifying’ HIV numbers came just days after President Rodrigo Duterte said people should not use condoms because they were ‘not pleasurable‘.

‘His comment on condoms tells us how little he knows about the HIV epidemic in the Philippines, and how condoms are a scientifically proven method to prevent its spread,’ Filipino journalist Ana Santos told Al Jazeera.

‘[HIV] has been festering [because of] historically low condom use due to shame and stigma and a misconception that condoms are not pleasurable.’

The country is one of 10 in the Asia Pacific that accounts for 95% of new HIV cases in the region. It is also the country with the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the Asia Pacific.

Young people most at risk

Young men who have sex with men were the most at risk of acquiring HIV. Trans women who have sex with men were also likely to be most affected.

The Philippines has one of the highest proportion of adolescents living with HIV. Almost 10% of total people living with HIV.

The DOH estimated in less than 10 years more than 90% of people living with HIV will be under 30.

‘The latest data on HIV/AIDS in the Philippines is terrifying. The victims are getting younger and there are many young millennial men having sex with other men who contract HIV in the process,’ said Federal politician Harlin Neil Abayon in a statement last year.

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