Dr. Rossana Ditangco, head of the AIDS Research Group of the health department's Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), recently stated that the Philippines' human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic is already a "national emergency."
A Human Rights Watch feature by Carlos H. Conde explained that Ditangco's pronouncement was based on the latest statistics from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) 2017 study.
The report noted: "The rate of HIV infection in the Philippines has become the highest in the Asia-Pacific region. That data demonstrates that in 2016, 83 percent of new infections in the Philippines occurred among men who have sex with men and transgender women who have sex with men. The sharp rise in new HIV infections in the Philippines since 2010 stands in sharp contrast to decreasing or stagnant rates of new infections in other parts of the Asia-Pacific region."
Indeed, as the report added, the Department of Health (DOH) data indicates that "the country's HIV infection rate grew by 140 percent from 2010 to 2016, with two out of three new HIV infections among 15 to 24-year-old men who have sex with men."
DOH chief Dr. Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial is likewise alarmed by this data and has made the HIV epidemic one of her agency's top health priorities." There are now plans to increase funding for antiretroviral treatment.
Here's a list of where you can get tested for HIV, or you can also visit the LoveYourself testing facility.
This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Fhm.com.ph editors.