Press Release
May 23, 2018

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros
On the Human Rights Watch's comments on the strengthened HIV Policy Act

There's an entire article in the Philippine HIV AIDS Policy Act of 2018 which is devoted to the provision of evidence-based, gender-responsive, age-appropriate, and human rights-oriented prevention programs and measures.

Specifically mentioned are the goals of these prevention programs: to reduce risky behavior, lower vulnerabilities, and promote human rights of PLHIVs. In the new law, there will also be interventions to prevent, halt or control the spread of HIV in the general population, especially among key populations and vulnerable communities. Preventive measures shall include accessibility of antiretroviral treatment, management of opportunistic infections; mobilization of communities of PLHIVs for public awareness campaigns and stigma reduction activities; and establishment of comprehensive human rights and evidence-based policies, programs and approaches that aim to reduce transmission of HIV and its harmful consequences to members of key affected populations.

These preventive measures include strategies such as distribution of prophylactics, such as condoms.

In fact, the Department of Health (DOH) has operationalized these provisions in its HIV/STI program that primarily seeks to reduce the transmission of HIV and STI among the most at risk population and the general population and to mitigate its impact at the individual, family, and community level through the following activities and interventions:

  • Availability of free voluntary HIV Counseling and Testing Service;

  • 100% Condom Use Program (CUP) especially for entertainment establishments;

  • Peer education and outreach;

  • Multi-sectoral coordination through Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC);

  • Empowerment of communities;

  • Community assemblies to reduce stigma;

  • Augmentation of resources of Social Hygiene Clinics; and

  • Procured male condoms distributed as education materials during outreach.

What we provide in the new HIV Policy Act is a legal framework that makes these programs target key affected population. We removed the barriers to an effective national HIV response that can actually end this epidemic.

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