DAVAO CITY — The National Council of Churches in the Philippines today called on the public to submit for the Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) for HIV as the country observes the National HIV Testing Week this May 11 to May 15.
NCCP, in a statement on Monday, reiterated its call that the HIV testing “should be stigma-free, confidential, accessible, routine and free.”
The NCCP said VCT for HIV is an effective way to prevent HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) transmission and AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) related deaths. “It offers practical ways for both HIV-negative and HIV-positive persons to remain healthy, to access treatment, and to avoid the spread of the virus,” it said.
According to the Department of Health, a total of 667 new cases of HIV were reported in March, the highest number since 1984.
NCCP said “(i)n most instances, people submit for HIV testing at a late period. Late diagnosis can advance the stages of HIV leading to AIDS.”
“The result is more tragic in terms of the current public health situation where there is inequitable access to health facilities, goods, and services and the increased cost of medical care,” it said.
NCCP also calls on the government to invest more in the health of its citizens.