Now Reading
The Philippines Senate just passed stronger laws to end HIV

The Philippines Senate just passed stronger laws to end HIV

The Philippines Senate just voted in favour of a strong reform Bill for the prevention of HIV/AIDS in the country.

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Senate health committee chairman Joseph Victor Ejercito introduced the Bill which will improve the Philippines’ policies on HIV prevention and containment.

The Senate voted 14-0 in favour of updating the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998.

The new policy will improve access to ‘HIV services, especially for key populations and vulnerable communities, and ensure social and financial risk protection for those who need to access these services’.

It will also provide more funds to HIV prevention, testing and treatment.

Increased education about HIV will also be improved at schools, workplaces and vulnerable areas.

The new law will tackle HIV stigma to ‘enhance anti-discrimination protection to promote the human rights of Filipinos living with HIV, key populations and vulnerable communities, and providers of HIV services’.

HIV has been declared a national emergency in the Philippines where new HIV diagnoses have jumped 3,147% in just nine years between 2007 and 2016. The country has one of the highest rates of new HIV cases in the Asia Pacific.

Young men who have sex with men, trans women and injecting drug users are some of the populations most at risk of acquiring HIV.

Risa Hontiveros celebrates

Sen Hontiveros spearheaded the updated policies and has long been an advocate for the LGBTI community.

Last year, she pushed for a Bill that would make it illegal to harass LGBTI people and women in public.

Hontiveros celebrated her most recent victory on Twitter.

‘This is an important victory in our fight to reverse the tide of the HIV-AIDS epidemic in the country. We now have a stronger and modern policy tool to appropriately respond to this problem,’ she wrote.