Accessibility of Antiretroviral Therapy
In 2018, the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018 (Republic Act 11166) was passed to curb the growing number of HIV cases in the country. This includes free HIV testing for people ages 15 and above, access to prophylactics for minimizing sexual transmission, and routine prenatal testing for HIV.
The law also makes HIV/AIDS treatment more accessible through the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), which provides coverage through its Outpatient HIV/AIDS Treatment package. This lessens the financial burden of following antiretroviral therapy, which is a necessary life-long treatment for a person with HIV.
The Department of Health has also designated HIV Treatment Hubs and Primary HIV Care Facilities all over the country where HIV patients can procure medications for ART and receive specialized medical support for their condition.
Prior to the passage of RA11166, the World Health Organization reports that only 36% of Filipinos with HIV were receiving treatment.
Though AIDS is the most advanced stage of an HIV infection, strict compliance to antiretroviral therapy supported by regular monitoring can allow those with AIDS to stay healthy and lead happy and fulfilling lives. Early detection and treatment of HIV is vital for preventing the disease’s progression to AIDS, but even in cases of an AIDS diagnosis, proper treatment can improve a patient’s quality of life and life expectancy.
Learn more about HIV/ AIDS here.