Sashes&Scripts Special Feature: A Spotlight on HIV-AIDS Advocacy

Pia Wurtzbach, Bianca Guidotti, Katarina Rodriguez, Sam Ajdani, Reniel Villareal, Rick Kristopher Palencia, Willan Pagayon, Kevin Balot and even now Catriona Gray have spoken in awareness of the growing HIV-AIDS epidemic that is now gripping the country.

Here is what we should know about this epidemic:
1. The Philippines has become the country with the fastest growing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic in the Asia Pacific region.
2. The Philippines recorded a 140% increase in the number of new infections… At the end of 2016, there were 10,500 Filipinos infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) up from 4,300 in 2010.
3. The Philippines has become one of the eight countries accounting for more than 90 percent of new HIV infections in Asia and the Pacific. The number of new infections in the country, however, is not as high as several countries in the region which have tens of thousands of new infections every year.
4. In 2016, 83 percent of new HIV cases occurred among males who have sex with males (MSM) and transgender women who have sex with males (TGW). Majority of these infections were reported among 15- to 24-year-old MSM and TGW.

5. Only 35% of MSM and TGW aged 15 to 24 had correct knowledge on HIV transmission and prevention. Two out of three new HIV infections were among 15 to 24 year-old men, who she said have insufficient awareness of HIV, its symptoms and treatment.
6. In May 2017 alone saw 1,098 new cases of HIV infections in the Philippines, the highest recorded number of cases since 1984 when infections were first reported.
7. Most of the men had their first sexual encounter at 16 years old and only get tested for HIV eight years later.
8. The Department of Health is now providing free antiretroviral medicine to anyone who tests positive for HIV and other out-patient services to a maximum of P30,000 per person annually. The DOH has three HIV treatment hubs in Metro Manila—Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, San Lazaro Hospital and Makati Medical Center.

Photo from Philippine Star…

Those who are 90’s babies are quite familiar with the HIV-AIDS epidemic that gripped the world in the 1970’s to the mid-90’s. This was quite a huge deal for the LGBT community back then as it further ostracized the gay community. It is just sad that despite advancement in communications and technology, the fight still lingers on with HIV-AIDS gaining an upper-hand.

This is why there is a need for this post, a need for beauty queens  and pageant fans to spread awareness of how this disease is a huge risk to Filipinos, specially to the LGBT community. It is timely, it is relevant (as Pia Wurtzbach said back in Miss Universe 2015), even more so now that the Philippines seems to be at the eye of the storm. The Filipino pageant community should help to their part, not just our beauty queens to spread awareness.
Below are some of the available links for HIV-AIDS awareness and support in the Philippines:
www.aidsphil.org/
* http://www.loveyourself.ph
* http://www.theredwhistle.com/
* http://pafpi.org/
* http://theredwhistle.com/
* https://www.facebook.com/pg/bchangenow/about/
Don’t be another statistic in the HIV epidemic. Protect yourselves and your partner, be in the know, get tested, spread the word…

SOURCES:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-aids-philippines/philippines-has-highest-hiv-infection-growth-rate-in-asia-pacific-u-n-idUSKBN1AH3CW
* http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/01/1723570/report-philippines-has-fastest-growing-hiv-epidemic-asia-pacific

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