The Philippine Department of Health has earmarked 180 million pesos (over $4.07 million) in its budget this year to procure anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs for the people living with HIV in the country.
Authorities said that the government has beefed up its commitment to provide funding for the treatment of persons living with the HIV infection after the Global Fund suspended its grant for ARV therapy. Global Fund is an international organization that extends grants to countries to help address HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
"Actually, the pullout of Global Fund has a good implication. It means the government already has a high level of commitment to HIV treatment," Dr. Jose Gerard Belimac, program manager of the DOH Philippine National AIDS Council, told reporters on the sidelines of a media training on epidemiology in Tarlac City last week.
From January to February this year, the DOH recorded 1,182 new HIV/AIDS cases. In February alone, 646 new cases were reported, the biggest number reported in a month in the history of HIV in the country.
To simplify the numbers, at least 21 people were infected daily in last February.