Proposal to update HIV/AIDS bill hurdles Senate’s 2nd reading
The Senate has passed on its second reading a bill that seeks to update the country’s two-decade-old law on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS).
The chamber has yet to pass the measure on third and final reading while its counterpart measure was already approved by the House of Representatives.
“Our current response on the HIV/AIDS epidemic is borne out of the need to update an old law. We can no longer rely on this two decades old law to adequately address our dire situation,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement on Thursday.
According to Hontiveros, who co-sponsored Senate Bill No. 1390 or the HIV/AIDS Policy Bill with Committee on Health Chair Senator JV Ejercito, the proposed measure would allocate more public funds for HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
“This is our way of updating the government framework on HIV/AIDS. We need a scientific, medical, human rights-based and inclusive policy to fully address the problem.”
Hontiveros said that the Philippines has the highest infection rate in the Asia-Pacific region, and one of the fastest rates worldwide. The opposition senator claimed that a 140 percent increase was recorded in the country for the last six years.
According to World Health Organization’s (WHO) Western Pacific Region, HIV/AIDS incidence in the country rose by more than 25% since 2001. In 2016, WHO estimates that 56,000 Filipinos are living with HIV/AIDS.
“The continuing struggle against HIV is real. It is urgent that we reverse the tide of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” Hontiveros added. /jpv