Filipino Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Promote Microbicide Development
A bill seeking to promote the development of microbicides to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections has been introduced in the Philippines, the Philippines News Agency reports. The legislation was filed by Rep. Narciso Santiago and states that the Department of Health and its components should increase research into the initial mechanism of infection by STIs. The bill also mandates that the health department evaluate the safety and efficacy of microbicides in animal models; research the design of contraceptive and non-contraceptive microbicides; examine the development of a mucosal delivery system; and create clinical trials and behavioral research on the use, acceptability and compliance of microbicides.
According to Santiago, the social, health and economic effects of STIs are particularly severe in developing countries such as the Philippines, where women ages 15 to 49 are most affected. Santiago said the STIs that could be prevented by the use of microbicides "impose high human costs in pain, diminished quality of life, disability and death," adding that STIs "substantially enhance susceptibility to HIV infection." According to Santiago, he hopes the legislation will "lessen if not totally stop" the spread and impact of STIs. Hepatitis B, herpes, HIV and human papillomavirus represent two-thirds of new STIs recorded in the country, Santiago said (Philippines News Agency, 8/21).