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Op-Ed

2014 AIDS Manila Manifesto

Participants of the 13th Philippine National Convention on AIDS signed a manifesto affirming that to stave off the rising epidemic, all stakeholders must review and re-commit to their roles in HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support, bearing in mind the approaches and interventions based in evidence that have been proven effective and valuable.

We gather in Manila to assess the progress of the Philippine response to the HIV epidemic and its future directions, at the 13th Philippine National Convention on AIDS (PNCA) with “The Evidence, a Round Table Discussion on HIV and AIDS,” on October 24 – 25, 2014.

We, the signatories and endorsers of this Manifesto, affirm that to stave off the rising epidemic, all stakeholders must review and re-commit to their roles in HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support, bearing in mind the approaches and interventions based in evidence that have been proven effective and valuable.

We affirm that as majority of the Philippine population is made up of young people below 25, HIV and AIDS education must be provided comprehensively in the primary and secondary levels that are centered on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

To improve treatment and counseling, we affirm that a more dedicated and hard work must be done increase the coverage of HIV testing aiming most at risk populations and ensure that those who get tested know and understand their test results. We resolve to come up with a standardized protocol for pre and post-test counseling.

We affirm that children and young people are entitled to an environment that respects their right to equal access to HIV awareness, prevention, treatment, and protection. We affirm that all women, men, transgender and intersex adults and children are entitled to equal rights and to equal access to HIV prevention, care and treatment information and services.

We uphold the principle that an evidence-based, rights-based and gender-responsive intervention on HIV and AIDS is non-discriminatory. No one should be criminalized or discriminated against because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, disability, religious or spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a sex worker, prisoner or detainee, drug use or HIV status.

We advocate for the ideal that all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are entitled to the same rights as everyone else because we are all born free and equal.

Likewise, we support the clamor for an improved medical practice that does not discriminate nor violate confidentiality in HIV care and treatment services because we believe that health providers have an ethical obligation to care for and treat people impartially.

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We call on legislators and the government to take a more tolerant and equitable approach to policies and laws that do not discriminate and stigmatize, and therefore, prevent the further spread of HIV.

We reaffirm our commitment to fairness, to universal access to healthcare and treatment services, and to support the inherent dignity and rights of all human beings.

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