Monday, December 1, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

World AIDS Day Activities in the Philippines

Here's an initial list of the World AIDS Day activities in the Philippines. If you want your activity to be posted, please send the details to Ms. Ced Apilado here. She is the Social Mobilization Adviser of UNAIDS Philippines.

(Click image to enlarge)

Philippines World AIDS Day 2008

By: Mark Alvin L. Abrigo, RN
Source: World AIDS Campaign

Statement of Solidarity against HIV/AIDS
Over a span of a decade, our country still maintains its record within a level categorized as a low prevalent country in terms of HIV and AIDS. The present prevalence rate of our country remains a record low. On the other hand, the Philippines should remain to be vigilant and carefully watch the looming effects of this global concern. As reflected by the present character of the Filipino population, our society is relatively influenced and challenged by cultural diversities, economic hardships, hasty migration, and sexual identity issues. High-risk groups of the population become emerging priority concerns such as migrant workers, seafarers, female sex workers, men who have sex with men, youth population and a plenty of drug users.

Today, we are sounding off a strong voice that Red Cross is a part of an alliance and a campaign against HIV/AIDS. We are taking part in this campaign as an advocate in helping the affected population beset by the effects of HIV/AIDS and an active key player in the area of prevention and risk reduction. As one of its priority health issues, PNRC shall, as ONE organization, involve its services, in particular but not limited to, the Community Health and Nursing Services, Red Cross Youth, Social Services, and Blood Services towards a more strategic and effective HIV/AIDS Programme. We shall renew relationships with government and non-government organizations to make our programs more responsive to the needs and gaps.

We call on those people affected with HIV and AIDS to remain steadfast. The Filipino nation along with PNRC recognizes the need to respond to their special needs. Your role in society is not rendered meaningless. It gives you a noble opportunity to carry out a challenge to send everybody a warning. A stern reminder that irresponsible action can make other people infected.

We call on everyone to remain vigilant towards preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS. A constant public health threat continues to plague our society thus PNRC should blow its horn as a beacon of humanity to take the lead in combating the spread of HIV and AIDS.

We call for an understanding of people affected with HIV/AIDS. Communities should realize its common responsibility of respecting everyone’s right. A person living with HIV and AIDS deserves a place in the society and should be given opportunities to live with human dignity.

As an organization with its roots in the community, we are conveying our statement of commitment to take responsibility in fighting and curbing the disease and in helping people especially those affected by HIV and AIDS. To ensure that this call shall be put into action, we shall engage in partnerships with those who can teach us how we can serve better in line with achieving our major health goals thus contribute to the goals of the entire Health Sector. This action is part of the PNRC’s continued commitment to alleviating human suffering at all levels and in vulnerable situations.

2008 World AIDS Day

The 1st of December, World AIDS Day, is the day when individuals and organisations from around the world come together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Whilst we have come a long ways since 1988, there is still much more to be done.

World AIDS Day 2008 materials are available online. Click here to download resources.

Sorry, the mail version of the World AIDS Day materials are SOLD OUT!!!!!

To begin preparing for World AIDS Day 2008, you can do the following:

Please continue to check back for updates on events and resources. If you would like us to inform you about World AIDS Day updates via email, please sign up here.


Friday, November 7, 2008

1st National Young People's Planning Forum on HIV-AIDS

1st National Young People's Planning Forum on HIV-AIDS

The Council for the Welfare of Children’s Committee on Children and HIV and AIDS in partnership with UNICEF will hold the 1st National Young People’s Planning Forum on November 28-29, 2008.

This forum builds on the experiences and recommendations of the young delegates at various international, regional and national Congresses and Consultations, to recognize that children and young people are an emerging population becoming more vulnerable to STI/HIV and AIDS.

Organization with/of children and young people are invited to send nominations for this forum to meaningfully and ethically involve themselves as active participants in the National AIDS response to HIV and AIDS. With a clear mandate and adequate preparation processes, their participation will be fully maximized in this forum.

To join, organizations should prepare the following:
• Brief write-up or CV of the nominee
• Informed consent signed by the nominee and his/her parents/carer
• Waiver
• From the organization, brief write-up of organization plan in relation to the forum.

Deadline for submission is on November 10th, 12 noon.
Please download the Invitation Letter and Concept Notes. Details of selection criteria are on pages 6-8.

NYPPF Concept Note

NYYPF Invitation

You may send your entries by email, fax or snail mail:

Postal Address: 17-17A Casmer Apartments, Del Pilar corner D. Jose Sts., Brgy San Roque, Cubao, Quezon City 1109
Telephone: +632 913 3464
Telefax: +632 911 7867

Source: Kabataan News

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NEC Assesses AIDS Registry

The National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health, with support from UNAIDS, has commissioned an independent consultant, Dr. Maridel Borja, to assess the Philippine AIDS Registry. The assessment was started in August 2008 and will end by October 2008.

The scope of work for the consultancy includes: 1) assessing the AIDS Registry by describing the purpose and objectives of the system, its standard operating procedures, and resources utilized to operate the system.; 2) Identifying measures to enhance the Registry’s capability to capture, analyze and report HIV and AIDS related data; 3) Identifying other data (either new or existing from other databases, e.g., electronic medical records) for inclusion to the registry; 4) Designing a data analysis plan to maximize data utilization by various stakeholders; 5) Recommending strategies to increase utilization of data generated by the registry as bases for policy formulation and appropriate actions to stem the occurrence of an impending epidemic; and, 6) Determining the feasibility of setting-up the electronic medical records (EMR) online.

The assessment included desk reviews of registry related documents, records and data, key informant interviews and small group discussions, site and facility visits, and a consensus building workshop held last 22 October 2008 at the Richmonde Hotel, Pasig City (see photos below).

Friday, August 29, 2008

HIV cases seen on the rise in the Philippines


MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines has a lower incidence of HIV than most of its neighbors despite sharing many of the risks, but health officials warned on Thursday that many new cases were now coming to light.


A spate of new HIV cases suggests that the Philippines' situation might be more accurately described as "hidden and growing," said Mario Villaverde, an undersecretary in the Department of Health.

"More recent statistics have already indicted a more or less abrupt change in the number of people afflicted," he said, on the sidelines of a conference on HIV/AIDS in nine Asian countries deemed to have low prevalence of the disease.

Villaverde said more infected people could be making their status known because treatments were now cheaper, although this was being verified by the health department.

"In the past two years, anti-retroviral drugs have become available for free, meaning some HIV positive people previously unknown to the authorities are now being reported," he said.

The number of Filipinos living with HIV was estimated by the United Nations at 7,000 cases in 2007, out of a total population of about 91 million.

The Philippines Department of Health however put the number of HIV patients at about 3,360 as of July, but says over 300 new cases have surfaced this year alone.


Nevertheless, the status of HIV infection in the Philippines has been classified as low prevalence, meaning that less than 0.1 percent of the population and less than 5.0 percent of people in high-risk groups were infected.

This was despite the low usage of condoms in the Catholic-majority country, where the powerful church frowns on artificial methods of contraception.

According to a 2005 study, only 13.5 percent of heterosexual Filipino males in the 15-24 age group used condoms.

India, China and Thailand all have higher incidence of HIV/AIDS than the Philippines.

Other Asian countries deemed to have low prevalence of HIV/AIDS include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, North Korea, Fiji, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia and Sri Lanka.

"In the Philippines, the low partner exchange, the frequency or the number of male clients (of prostitutes) frequenting other partners, the contributory factor of circumcision, those are some of the conditions that have somehow kept the HIV prevalence low," said Bai Bagaso, UNAIDS representative for the country.

"But what we're saying is it does mask the threat because it might not reveal the changes in the way HIV is spreading."

(Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and David Fox)
(Photo: Reuters)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Filipino Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Promote Microbicide Development

Global Challenges | Filipino Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Promote Microbicide Development
[Aug 22, 2008]

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).


Friday, August 22, 2008

Manila hosts 2nd LPC Meeting

In the Asia and Pacific Region a country-driven process on scaling up towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support was launched in early 2006. The process aimed to identify solutions to the key obstacles that are blocking universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support services, and to develop nationally agreed, targeted plans or ‘roadmaps’ for building significantly more comprehensive AIDS programmes by 2010. However, during the Regional Consultation on Scaling up Towards Universal Access to HIV Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support in February 2006 in Pattaya, Thailand, participants acknowledged that low prevalence countries have distinct issues that challenge the attainment of their targets towards universal access. These issues include minimal resources allocated, weak government commitment, weak civil society participation, low coverage of programmes, reflecting the low prioritization given to AIDS programmes and the “invisibility” of the problem vis-à-vis other competing priorities.

Thus, the 1st Regional Consultative Meeting on Universal Access to Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support in Low Prevalence Countries was organized in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in 24-27 October 2006. Sixty two (62) representatives from governments, civil society and international organizations from 10 countries participated in the meeting, namely, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Fiji, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Philippines and Sri Lanka. Various UN and multilateral agencies were also present as resource persons and observers. The participants concluded that countries where HIV is still relatively low have a window of opportunity to avoid more serious epidemics cost-effectively. Despite a few notable successes in containing the epidemic, infections continue to rise throughout Asia and the Pacific region and have reached concentrated levels in a number of countries. It is therefore essential that countries with low HIV prevalence invest in sustainable and focused prevention efforts, and actively counter the stigma of HIV and the taboos that hinder addressing risky behaviours.

Calling for action to increase sustainable HIV prevention efforts and funding for AIDS, the delegates adopted the Ulaanbaatar 2006 Call for Action, which, among others:

* underscored the need for focused prevention efforts for people most at risk, including sex workers and their clients, injecting drug users, men who have sex with men and migrants and mobile populations, majority of whom are young;
* called for greater efforts to raise general awareness about AIDS to help break down AIDS-related stigma and discrimination;
* highlighted priorities for an effective response to the epidemic such as improving surveillance systems, so they can better understand factors driving the epidemic and target interventions to those most at risk;
* emphasized that national AIDS action plans need adequate funding, ambitious but realistic targets, high-level political commitment, and the full involvement of civil society; and,
* urged governments and international donors to increase support for national HIV prevention programmes.

Delegates also endorsed the holding of a second meeting to look at the progress made by countries in moving towards universal access to HIV prevention and AIDS treatment, care and support.


Friday, August 1, 2008

UNAIDS launches new report on global AIDS epidemic

Updates from the UNAIDS Website...

Significant gains in preventing new HIV infections are being seen in a number of countries most affected by the AIDS epidemic. This is according to a new report released by UNAIDS.
Read full story
Access 2008 Report on the global AIDS epidemic
Read press release
Watch the launch in New York webcast from the United Nations
View photo gallery

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

PHILIPPINES Church Partnership With United Nations Produces Training Manual On HIV And AIDS

July 14, 2008 | PR05354.1506 | 685 words

MANILA (UCAN) -- "At the end of our journey, we will face our creator; we need you to help prepare us," Noel Pascual, an HIV-positive person, shared at the launch of a manual on HIV and AIDS.

Pascual, 43, was one of about 50 people who attended the July 11 launch of the two-volume Training Manual on HIV and AIDS for Catholic Church Pastoral Workers. UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, developed the manual with Catholic Philippine institutions.

Complete story at

Bishop Precioso Cantillas (center), hands over the training Manual to Father Savino Bernardi (right) as UNAIDS Country Coordinator Teresita Marie Bagasao looks on. (Source: Union of Catholic Asian News)

Resource Book [1 mb)
Instructional Guide [1.3mb]

Friday, June 13, 2008

2008 High-Level Meeting on AIDS concludes in New York

Updates from the UNAIDS Website...
The 2008 United Nations High-level Meeting on AIDS came to a close on Wednesday evening, 11 June 2008. During the two day meeting representatives from member states reviewed progress made in the response to the AIDS epidemic and highlighted challenges still to overcome.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Philippine Arm Forces's message on AIDS Candlelight

Message of the Arm Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Surgeon General on the occasion of the Awarding Ceremony for its AIDS Poster Making Contest. The contest is the AFP’s activity around the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial.

Awarding Ceremony, AIDS Poster-Making Contest
19 May 2008, AFP Medical Center

The Surgeon General, Armed Forces of the Philippines


The AIDS pandemic’s destabilizing effects have been keenly felt in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, HIV and AIDS in Africa has “undermined education and health systems, economic growth, micro enterprises, policing and military capabilities, political legitimacy, family structures, and overall social cohesion.” Indeed, HIV infection rates among African Armed Forces are two to three times higher than those of the civilian populace. These destabilizing/threatening effects potentially extend beyond the African sub-continent as well. In the so-called “second wave” states – including China, India and Russia – infection among high-risk groups is beginning to spread into the general population.

In the light of its impact upon virtually all indicators of human well-being, from public health to national security – the global AIDS pandemic presents a quintessential human rights challenge affecting the vital interests of all nations and requiring a comprehensive, human rights-based approach if it is to be brought under control. One of the aims, then, is to reduce AIDS-related stigma and discrimination so that more people will get tested from HIV and receive prevention counseling. Respecting and enforcing rights of women so that they may control their bodies, reject unwanted sexual advances, and insist upon the correct and consistent use of condoms to protect oneself against HIV infection, ending modern-day slavery and eradicating human sex trafficking are also some of the national security issues that need to be addressed. More than mere “issues”, in fact, these challenges are fast becoming national security imperatives. Therefore, controlling HIV requires our collective global commitment – governmental, societal and personal -- to secure the human rights of all people.

In our organization, extensive education awareness was the initial step done to take the lead in preventing the spread of HIV. The Office of the Surgeon General, in partnership with Lunduyan Foundation, Inc. and the UNAIDS, conducted training of trainors among health personnel last October 15-19, 2007, which consisted of medical officers, military nurses, dental officers, veterinary officers, social workers, psychologists and medical technologists that will form the major services HIV and AIDS Core Team. The AFP Medical Center has a HIV and AIDS Core Team with its team leader CPT ADONIS F RASALAN. The second batch of the trained trainers were among medical and non-medical personnel who consisted of representatives from the Training and Doctrine Command of the Philippine Army (TRADOC), Air Force Education and Training Center (AETC), Naval Education and Training Center (NETC), Philippine Fleet, Marine Corps Training Center (MCTC) with the aim of incorporating the module on STI, HIV and AIDS 101 in the curriculum of the local schoolings and trainings that they have. The last batch was conducted among personnel in the PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY.

At present, the HIV and AIDS Policy is undergoing deliberation in the Office of the Adjutant General. The HIV and AIDS Core Team is presently working on a handbook on HIV 101. This poster making contest is also one of the action plans taken during the training of trainers conducted last year. There are 35 posters submitted coming from the different military units and an entry from Luuk, Sulu.

As you are gathered here today for the Awarding of the HIV and AIDS Poster Making Contest, it will be a challenge for all of us, especially in the Medical Service, to strengthen the education awareness and for us to take the lead in sustaining the long-term and continuous upscale in rendering services to our troops especially in preventing themselves. It is not only our task to protect the Motherland from insurgents and from other national security threats, but also a fight for us to keep the well-being of the Armed Forces of the Philippines – a transformation in the behaviour change must start now.

The Office of the Surgeon General would like to thank its partners – Lunduyan Foundation, Inc. and UNAIDS for their support, the AFP Medical Center for generously assisting and accommodating this activity despite the command’s hectic schedule, for the judges in sharing their expertise and time, for the AFP HIV and AIDS Core Team, and the support staff who help make this activity possible. I congratulate the winners and those who participated in the Poster Making Contest. It is our way of showing that we, in the Armed Forces, are creative people too.

Lastly, the goal is to scale up our commitment in the advocacy of education and policy-making on STI/HIV and AIDS that will lead us towards our corporate social responsibility in a community-based level of advocacy.

Thank you and Mabuhay!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New UNAIDS head assumes post in the Philippines

UNAIDS Philippines is pleased to announce its newly appointed UNAIDS Country Coordinator - Ms. Teresita Marie “Bai” P. Bagasao. She assumed office last 12 February 2008.

She has been with the UNAIDS Secretariat since 1996, working initially in Geneva as Programme Development Officer for Asia Pacific, and then as Chief of Partnerships, overseeing work with civil society and private sector from 2001. In May 2005 till this appointment, she was reassigned to UNAIDS Bangkok to manage the Asia Pacific Leadership Forum (APLF) on HIV/AIDS and Development.

Prior to joining UNAIDS, Ms Bagasao headed Kabalikat Foundation as Executive Director for 10 years. A Philippine health and development NGO, Kabalikat focused on maternal and child health issues, including working with private sector on social marketing campaigns on sexual and reproductive health. Her involvement in the HIV and AIDS response began in 1987 with a pilot prevention project with sex workers in Manila. This then expanded to advocacy and capacity building among sex workers, young people, other development NGOs and people living with HIV in country and across the Asia Pacific region. She was one of the first NGO representatives to the Philippine National AIDS Council and contributed significantly to the drafting of what is now known as Republic Act 8504, or the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998, a UNAIDS best practice in AIDS legislation. As Regional Secretariate for the Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organizations from 1992 to 1996, she contributed to the development and support of a number of regional NGO networks working on HIV and AIDS and their participation in national and regional policy-making bodies.

Ms Bagasao graduated with a degree in Bachelors of Science in Social Work and a Masters of Arts in Psychology.

[Click photos to enlarge]

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

UNGASS 2008 Country progress reports

Updates from the UNAIDS Website...
In compliance with the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, countries have submitted their progress reports to UNAIDS which will assess the state of the global AIDS epidemic in preparation for the United Nations High-level meeting on AIDS that will take place in June. More