The HIV response in the Philippines has proven to be challenging during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic as access to HIV prevention and treatment services is also affected.
Data from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS or UNAIDS show the Philippines has the fastest-growing HIV epidemic in Asia and the Pacific region. Infections have increased by more than 200% from 2010 to 2019.
According to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in Metro Manila coverage of HIV prevention services for gay men and other men who have sex with men has decreased by 74% since 2019. Government figures show that compared to 2019, in 2020 HIV testing decreased by 61%, and enrolment in HIV care reduced by 28%.
According to a UNAIDS article, the community-led services, the Philippines Department of Health, local government units, and other treatment hubs and support groups are collaborating to ensure the continuity of HIV services during the pandemic.
They are conducting blended services that included online counseling and onsite services covered prevention commodities, testing services, treatment, and medical care. This also included providing psychosocial services, which have seen a sharp rise in demand since the first COVID-19 outbreak.