Thank you very much and on behalf of the Department of Health and all the member agencies and nongovernment organizations of the Philippine National AIDS Council, let me welcome everyone to the 2009 National Dissemination Forum for HIV/AIDS in the Philippines. This morning we are presenting new data on HIV/AIDs to know more about our epidemic and its changing trends, so that together, we can mount a stronger and a more focused response that reflects the greater urgency with which we need to confront it.
Nothing in the current trends of new HIV/AIDS infections in the country suggests that we are facing a waning AIDS epidemic. In fact, we may be in for a ride. Although we now see unparalleled momentum in the responses against HIV/AIDS with the way we have consolidated a broader, multisectoral national response over the past decades, the number of people living with HIV continues to grow in the Philippines. We may have the financial, medical, and technical building blocks to curb the epidemic, but overall rates of HIV/AIDS are going up nationally based on the latest report which NEC will announce this morning,
HIV/AIDS is gaining momentum. It is spreading fast in the most at risk populations at a pace that we haven’t seen before and at a rate which can put unsustainable burden on our country for decades to come. It is emerging as one of our primary health and development concerns with the real and imminent danger that the AIDS epidemic can become explosive and spill over larger communities. We have seen that in many of our Asian neighbors, a low-level HIV/AIDS epidemic can become a concentrated epidemic in so short a time. We cannot and should not wait for that to happen. That is the greatest tragedy.
Read more on Sec. Duque's Keynote Address HERE.
Thanks to AIDS Society of the Philippines.