Filipino Government Should Increase Promotion of Condom Use, UNFPA, WHO Say
The World Health Organization and the U.N. Population Fund in a joint statement issued after a three-day meeting in Manila, the Philippines, urged the Filipino government to promote the country's "100% condom use" program aimed at fighting HIV/AIDS, the South African Press Association reports. Jean-Marc Olive, WHO representative in the Philippines, said that HIV prevalence in the country is low but that sexually transmitted infection prevalence "remain[s] high" (South African Press Association, 10/6). The Roman Catholic Church, which has a strong influence over government policy in the Philippines, has refused to condone condom use to prevent disease transmission and instead encourages people to use natural birth control methods or abstain from sex (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/23/05). A 2005 Department of Health survey conducted in 10 Filipino cities found that "only half of sex workers, including men who have sex with men, were aware of the three measures to prevent HIV." The survey also found that 57% of sex workers in the country use condoms. According to Olive, the country needs to increase HIV prevention efforts targeted at groups that engage in high-risk behaviors to prevent the spread of the virus to the general population. The government since 1984 has recorded 2,566 HIV cases and 287 AIDS-related deaths. Some experts have estimated that there are between 10,000 and 15,000 HIV-positive people living in the country (South African Press Association, 10/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.