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Old August 29th, 2013
Lanie Lanie is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Default 2013-07-24 TIME - Every Three Hours Someone in the Philippines Gets HIV

Every 3 hours someone in Philippines gets HIV

Chris Lagman vividly remembers the night that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) came into his life. It was two years ago, and the LGBT activist was at a pre-Christmas dinner party in Quezon City with a dozen gay Filipino professionals. During the course of the evening, a fellow guest and close friend asked if he could speak privately to Lagman. He told Lagman that he had recently tested positive for HIV. Over the next few months the young man seemed to vanish from their social circle. The next time Lagman saw him was at his funeral, where relatives said the friend had died from a “mysterious” ailment. That was the first of many funerals Lagman would attend in 2011 as people he knew began to succumb to complications arising from HIV. “I would hear from other friends, [they would ask] why is it that suddenly a lot of my friends are passing away,” Lagman says.

Although there is still a low prevalence of HIV in the Philippines, with just under 24,000 cases reported in 2012, transmission is now growing rapidly. A decade ago, a new case of HIV was being reported every three days. These days, it’s every three hours — a terrifying statistic that makes the Southeast Asian nation one of only nine in the world where transmission is on the rise. The latest data from the Department of Health shows 415 new HIV cases in May, a 52% spike over the same period last year and the highest since 1984. According to the department, 9 out of 10 new cases are men, mostly under 30. The reason, many health workers say, is poor “prevention coverage” — things like the use of condoms and the availability of HIV testing — coupled with an increase in risky behavior. (Even Lagman admits to an unprotected sexual encounter in 2008 with a man he knew to be HIV positive. Fortunately Lagman later tested negative.)

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hiv/aids, philippines

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