The HIV epidemic is worsening in the Philippines, but what are we doing?
We observed World AIDS day last December 1, but the alarming HIV-AIDS epidemic in the Philippines was not widely talked about on the media. I wonder if there is an ongoing media blackout on anything about HIV-AIDS in the Philippines.
Even the monthly epidemic report is no longer widely publicized by the Philippine National AIDS Council. Perhaps Filipino AIDS activists are busy glossing over their public image. One gay magazine editor in Manila wrote an article about those activists and their penchant for well-funded, star-studded parties as though they were celebrating their delusional success.
According to the United Nations, there had been 6,552 cases of HIV infection in the Philippines from January to October, 2015. More alarmingly, the UN estimates that as much as 50% of people living with HIV-AIDS are not aware of their status.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health revealed recently that HIV cases in the Philippines might reach 133,000 in seven years. That is more than alarming. Also, a new HIV case is detected every hour in the the country. It baffles me why our government leaders do not seem worried. HIV-AIDS is also an economic issue.
The government will be spending a lot of funds because some horny, irresponsible people do not want to use condoms. It is time to be serious about it before our government spends more on HIV medications than on farm roads and school facilities.
The HIV infection rate in the Philippines continues to rise because people are still engaging in unprotected sex, in which, in my view, the HIV-positive participants should be legally penalized. If they know that their HIV status is positive and still they play around unprotected, they should go to jail and be labeled as sex offenders.
That is murder or attempted murder even if no transmission happened. In most states in the United States, intentional HIV infection is already a felony. Why is it still not a crime in the Philippines? Why are AIDS activists in our country protecting such sick, evil criminals?
I was attacked by some AIDS activists before because they did not want intentional HIV infection to be criminalized. It seemed they were more into coloring their image rather than saving lives. Perhaps they really believe that nobody dies from AIDS anymore. That is not true.
Last October, fifty people with AIDS died. Were those deaths not enough as proofs that HIV-AIDS still kills? We need a law that will send to jail those HIV-infected murderers who intentionally transmit HIV out of spite, revenge, adventure, and fun. They kill using their sexual organs, and that is nasty.
Another reason why HIV infection is getting out of hand is the fear and ambivalence of sexually adventurous individuals to get tested. Perhaps they are fearful of discrimination, while others hesitate because they simply do not want to know their status.
It is time for the Philippines to have mandatory HIV testing. Again, I was attacked because of that. I will not change my stance. Public health and national economy should be prioritized. The HIV-positive should be supported, and the HIV-negative should be protected. That should be the policy.
AIDS activists in the Philippines rely on individual rights and imagined stigma when they oppose mandatory testing. Even in the US, the bastion of all rights and freedoms, has some form of mandatory HIV testing.
There should be a law in the Philippines that allows it, if we want to address the HIV-AIDS epidemic meaningfully. Since it is a constitutional issue, it will be a hard one to hurdle. Strong political will is needed to come up with such law that should be compassionate, professionally supportive, and non-discriminatory. It can be done if the government is serious.
What the government should do is make HIV testing mandatory among its workers, officials, and personnel from all branches, departments, and agencies. Students and scholars of state institutes, colleges, and universities should also be tested. Cops and soldiers should be included.
Everyone who receives funds, salaries, grants, and scholarships from the government should be tested. The goal of the mandatory testing should be for early detection and treatment not discrimination and dismissal. It can even generate jobs for medical professionals.
The government spends a lot of funds to train, teach, and educate those people. It is an investment. It will be a loss to the government if one of them dies due to undiagnosed HIV infection that eventually develops into AIDS. Imagine if a UP scholar dies from AIDS after graduating! That is a waste of taxpayer money.
If there is a mandatory testing, he can be diagnosed early, his disease can be effectively managed, and he will live longer. That is a good argument for mandatory HIV testing–protecting government investments and avoiding wasteful spending.
Now, who is the best presidential candidate who has the guts and balls to support bills on criminal HIV transmission and mandatory HIV testing? I cannot think of anybody really but Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who happens to be a strong LGBT supporter. He can protect the HIV-positive from discrimination and the HIV-negative from infection. That, I believe.