Philippine Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Bolster HIV/AIDS Prevention, Services
Philippine Rep. Nerissa Corazon Soon Ruiz recently introduced a measure that would amend the country's 1998 AIDS Prevention and Control Act in an effort to strengthen prevention and care services, the Manila Standard reports. The measure would bolster the country's HIV/AIDS monitoring system, as well as improve support services for people living with the disease and their families. In addition, the measure would increase the annual budget of the Philippine National AIDS Council in an effort to make it more autonomous.
Ruiz said that she introduced the measure to address the increasing number of undocumented HIV/AIDS cases in the Philippines (Araneta, Manila Standard, 4/29). "The incidence of HIV and AIDS in the Philippines can no longer be regarded as low and slow but ... hidden and growing," she said, adding, "The alarming side of the story is the unreported and undocumented cases, now escalating to an estimated 11,000 cases" (GMANews.tv, 4/28). Ruiz, who also is a member of UNAIDS, said, "Inaction could prove to be costly. Let's not wait for this health problem to become an epidemic" (Manila Standard, 4/29).