The World Health Organization (WHO) has noted an alarming 25-percent increase in the number of HIV cases in the Philippines, reports Interaksyon.com. As of 2011, seven new cases were being reported each day. In March 2012 alone, 313 cases were reported (or as many as 10 per day), making it the highest number to ever be recorded in a month.
According to Irma Asuncion, a director at the Department of Health (DOH) National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, this is 141 more cases or 82 percent higher than the number reported in the same month last year. The rising number of HIV cases is being attributed to the increased frequency of men having sex with men. Sharing needles for drug use also contributes to the problem.
Helping the country deal with HIV is Global Fund—reportedly the bigger funder to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Unfortunately, the organization has announced that it will ending its support to the Philippines late this year and canceling $2 billion in funding that was supposed to start in 2013 and run until 2017. While existing patients currently undergoing treatment won’t be affected, new patients may not be able to expect much help. Anticipating the gap, the DOH National AIDS or Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention and Control Program has reportedly increased its budget to P150 million.
The Philippines is just one of seven countries with increasing numbers of HIV cases. At the moment, the WHO is also keeping an eye on Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, Kasakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
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