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UNDP To Help Fund HIV/AIDS Program In Philippines

The U.N. Development Program (UNDP) will help fund a three-year program in response to the increase in HIV/AIDS cases in the Philippines, the Manila Bulletin reports. The program aims to help the country combat the spread of the disease and reach the related U.N. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. “The program has five components that aim to develop intervention packages, especially among vulnerable and at-risk groups in rural areas,” writes the Manila Bulletin (Sabater, 7/23).

On Thursday, Renaud Meyer, the UNDP country director, said about 89 percent of reported HIV transmissions were due to unprotected sex,  AFP/Google.com reports. “All the main ingredients for an epidemic are present in the country,” he said. Most of the people who have contracted HIV are males in their 20s who had same-sex relationships and are mainly from urbanised areas around Manila, Meyer said, adding that it is likely that the government will fall short of achieving the MDG of decreasing the spread of HIV by 2015.

Meyer said that condom use among the most at-risk groups – “including homosexual men, female sex workers and their male clients” – is below 90 percent, he said, AFP/Google.com reports (7/23).  According to the Manila Times Meyer said, “It is important to promote voluntary testing especially among vulnerable and high risk group[s] because when more people get tested, we’ll have a better knowledge on the real situation in the Philippines” (7/24).