Press Release
October 10, 2018

Explanation of Vote
Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros
Ratification of Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act
October 10, 2018

Mr. President, my dear colleagues, just two days ago, as we are preparing for the bicameral conference meeting, the World Health Organization Western Pacific Regional Director Dr. Shin Young-soo made an alarming statement that sooner or later, the general population of Filipinos, and not just men who have sex with men (MSM), might be infected by HIV and AIDS. This was confirmed by the Philippine National AIDS Council earlier, warning government that unless steps are taken, the number of Filipinos living with HIV-AIDS will exceed a quarter of a million by 2030.

A quarter of a million by 2030
A 140% increase in the last six to eight years
85% - 15 to 24 year-old MSMs
32 testing positive every day

The fastest growing epidemic in Asia and the Pacific.

And it took us almost ten years, Mr. President, my dear colleagues.

Ten years to set aside our indifference, our prejudices.
Ten years to come up with an evidence-based and human rights-centered response.
Ten years to address stigma and discrimination which have been outrageously denying our PLHIVs and people at risk their right to health, which this representation believes should be basic to every Filipino, to every human being.

Along with the submission of this bicameral conference committee report is a promise--

That no Filipino PLHIV shall be deprived of healthcare and support anymore.

That no person at risk will still be afraid to know his or her status.

That no 15 year-old will be denied testing and left uncared for.

With this report also comes a simple prayer: for our dear country to be dragged out from the dark corners of this epidemic--of ignorance, negligence, and untimely deaths--the miserable rut where the rest of the world has left us. May this new law be able adequately respond to the needs of PLHIVs and key affected population.

May this new law usher us to a new dawn of hope.

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