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Philippines approves PrEP trial as HIV numbers expected to jump 140%

Philippines approves PrEP trial as HIV numbers expected to jump 140%

Philippines LGBTI advocates. Photo: Twitter

The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) has green lit a PrEP trial for people at high risk of acquiring HIV.

The trial comes weeks after the Philippines recorded ‘terrifying’ numbers of new HIV notifications. In May the country recorded it highest ever number of new HIV diagnoses since, with 1098 new cases.

The Philippines is one of the few countries in the world that has recorded an increase in HIV diagnoses. Last week it was revealed it was one of ten countries in the Asia Pacific region that accounted for 95% of new HIV diagnoses.

At a press conference today the DOH said the Philippines has the ‘fastest growing’ HIV epidemics in Asia Pacific as reported in Rappler.

Annual HIV numbers doubled from 4300 new cases in 2010 to 10,500 in 2016 and are expected to jump 19,300 by 2022.

The majority of new cases were among young men who have sex with men (MSM). Two out of three new HIV diagnoses will be men in that age range.

Data from the Philppines Department of Health.
Data from the Philppines Department of Health. Philppines Department of Health.

PrEP trial

Open to gay men and trans women, the two year trial will give the HIV-preventative treatment PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to 200 people.

‘This is the first time PrEP is being offered in the Philippines, this is very exciting,’ Danvic Rosadino from Love Yourself, an LGBTI organization involved in the trial told Thomson Reuters Foundation.

‘With the continued rise in new HIV cases, this is really timely and relevant. All interventions regarding HIV preventions should be made available in the Philippines.’

The DOH released data that showed around 97% of of new HIV cases were acquired through sexual contact. MSM were at highest risk.

Love Yourself’s Danvic Rosadino told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that 600 people had already applied to be on the trial. Currently 30 people have cleared the screening tests for the trial.