Philippines Facing HIV/AIDS Epidemic, Health Secretary Says; Piot Criticizes Catholic Opposition to Condom Use
February 23, 2005
The Philippines might be seeing the beginning of an underlying HIV/AIDS epidemic, as health officials are worried that the actual number of HIV/AIDS cases in the country might be much higher than the number of reported cases, Philippines Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit said on Tuesday at an international conference in the country's capital, Manila, AFP/Global Nation reports. "We in the Philippines are sitting on the tip of an iceberg, and we don't know how big the base is," Dayrit said. According to recent data, the country has recorded about 2,200 HIV cases and 676 AIDS cases, but the Philippines Department of Health and the World Health Organization estimate that there were 10,000 HIV-positive people living in the country at the end of 2003, AFP/Global Nation reports. Dayrit warned that HIV/AIDS is no longer limited to commercial sex workers and their clients, saying that the disease "cuts across all boundaries." The fight against HIV/AIDS needs to be "brought out into the open," and sex education in schools must be improved, Dayrit said. "Young people need to be told that they are not invincible and we have to start telling people that they should start taking responsibility for their own sexual behavior," he added (AFP/Global Nation, 2/22).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.