Palace urges public to help end HIV, AIDS stigma
Malacañang called on the public on Friday to help end the stigma on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and support the government’s effort on the prevention of the disease.
In his message on World AIDS Day, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque urged Filipinos to unite and help in raising awareness about the deadly disease.
“As we commemorate World AIDS Day, we must work as one to increase the capacity of the country for early warning, risk reduction, and management of national and global health risks, including HIV/AIDS. We urge all Filipinos to help end the stigma of HIV/ AIDS and contribute to prevent the spread of the disease,” Roque said in a statement.
He also lauded the House of Representatives’ recent passage of House Bill 6617 or Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act on third and final reading.
Roque, one of the bill’s principal authors, said the proposed law will serve to strengthen the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Act given that the UHC covers preventive health services.
“I am pleased that the government recognizes the need to halt the epidemic of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-AIDS) in the country, and is finally taking significant steps to avert the spread of the disease,” he said.
The spokesperson said the measure provides for policies and programs to prevent the spread of HIV and deliver treatment, care, and support services to Filipinos living with HIV in accordance with evidence-based strategies and approaches that follow the principles of human rights, gender equality, and meaningful participation of communities affected by the epidemic.
“ We have much left to do. We have to strengthen the stigma reduction mechanisms of existing laws and guarantees that the country’s HIV and AIDS response is premised on the respect, recognition, and promotion of human dignity,” Roque said.
“On a larger scale, government needs to address not just the health issues themselves but also the social determinants of health that contribute significantly to the persistence of these communicable diseases,” he noted.
He said the bill’s passage was very timely as the HIV/AIDS cases in the country continued to rise, posting the highest growth rate in the Asia-Pacific.
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