Duque tests for HIV to help erase procedure’s stigma
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III had himself tested on Friday for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) in a bid to eliminate the stigma associated with testing ahead of next week’s celebration of International AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) Candlelight Memorial Day.
Duque said that with the continued rise in the number of HIV cases in the country, testing and early detection were key in helping combat AIDS, which kills an average of 500 Filipinos each year.
“It is important to know one’s HIV status to enable people living with HIV to access treatment, which is now given for free by the Department of Health,” Duque said on Friday.
Since January 1984, about 53,000 Filipinos have been diagnosed with HIV. From 2010 to 2016, the estimated annual new HIV infections in the country rose by 140 percent, making the Philippines “the country with the fastest-growing HIV epidemic in Asia and the Pacific.”—JOVIC YEE
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