Imelda Marcos seeks to amend AIDS law

Published by rudy Date posted on May 5, 2011

Former First Lady and incumbent Ilocos Norte Representative (2nd District) Imelda Marcos is seeking to strengthen the country’s policy on the prevention and control of the dreaded Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS).

Marcos, together with Representatives Florencio Flores Jr. (2nd District, Bukidnon) and Nancy Catamco (2nd District, North Cotabato), has filed House Bill 4129 that seeks to amend Republic Act 8504 or the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998.

“A decade has passed since the AIDS law was enacted and yet the spread of HIV/AIDS has not been stopped,” Marcos said in a statement issued on Friday.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), HIV infects cells of the immune system, destroying or impairing their function.

As the infection progresses, the immune system becomes weak, making the person vulnerable to infections. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is AIDS.

The proposed bill seeks to provide a comprehensive HIV/AIDS monitoring program or “AIDSWATCH” that will be created under the Department of Health (DOH).

This program will monitor the magnitude and progression of HIV infection in the Philippines, Marcos said.

According to a DOH report posted on its website, a total of 6,326 had been diagnosed with HIV in the Philippines from January 1984 to February 2011. About 863 of these are AIDS cases.

Of the number, most are males (4,984) while 1,331 are females. About 1,357 belong to the youth, aged 24 and below.

About 324 deaths due to AIDS were reported from January 1984 to February 2011.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. What is more alarming are the unreported and undocumented cases now escalating at an estimated 12,000 HIV cases. This incidence should not be underestimated and that the widespread and growing perception is that it is no longer regarded as low and slow but hidden and growing,” Marcos said.

According to Marcos, the bill supports the Millennium Development Goal’s (MDGs) aim to address HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2015.

She added that the bill seeks to enhance the existing HIV/AIDS information and educational program to increase the level of awareness of the public.

Under the measure, government education agencies shall conduct HIV/AIDS education in schools using the information provided by the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC).

The proposed legislation also aims to increase the annual budget of the PNAC.

“For more than 10 years now, the annual appropriation is no longer realistic and financially viable for PNAC to perform and sustain its core functions, therefore there is the urgency to increase its yearly budget,” Marcos said.

The measure also supports the People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and their affected families by addressing the issue of discrimination against them. — Emmanuel Louis Bacani/LBG/VVP, GMA News

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