Privilege speech on HIV/AIDS

Privilege Speech on HIV/AIDS
By: Senator Pia Cayetano
16 March 2011

I rise on a matter of personal and collective privilege to bring attention to one of the deadliest diseases which is fast becoming a threat to our country — the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or what is more commonly known as HIV.

Mr. President, HIV is a growing global epidemic. From 8 million in 1990, the number of people living with HIV rose to 33 million by the end of 2009. But what is even more disturbing, Mr. President, is that out of the 2.6 million people who became infected with HIV in 2009, 370,000 of those were innocent babies who were born to women with HIV.

Among the 63 countries with HIV infection cases, the Philippines is one of the only 7 countries with increasing prevalence, together with countries such as Bangladesh and Kazakhstan.

In 2008, an average of 44 people was diagnosed to have HIV per month.[i] In 2009, the average increased to 70 people in one month and in 2010, the average rose even more to 120 cases per month.[ii] Because of this sharp rise in new cases, it is estimated that by doing nothing there will be 210 new cases per month in 2011, 390 new cases per month in 2012 and 2,013 new cases per month by 2015.

During a Department of Health briefing which I attended last week in Cebu City, we were informed that as of January 2011, there are 407 HIV positives in Region 7 alone and alarmingly, 327 of them are in Cebu City. It was also reported that only 18% of those diagnosed with HIV used condoms during their last sexual act and 92% among HIV positive males have female partners that they can infect, can get pregnant and can transmit HIV to their babies.

Mr. President, HIV knows no social, economic or political boundaries. It is simply a deadly disease for which there is no cure. To further understand how HIV taints the lives of people it infects, we will show you a short film entitled “Sa Direksyon ni Makoy”, which gives us a glimpse into the life of a child suffering from congenital HIV.

Thank you Mr. President.

[i] Philippines Progress Report to the UN, 2010.
[ii] According to DOH briefing, 4 cases per day (4 x 30 = 120 per month)

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