The Philippine government is fueling a rising human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic among men who have sex with men through policies that restrict interventions proven to prevent transmission of the virus, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. 

The 46-page report, “Fueling the Philippines’ HIV Epidemic: Government Barriers to Condom Use by Men Who Have Sex With Men,” documents the failure of national and local governments in the Philippines to address the growing HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men.

The Philippines is facing one of the fastest-growing epidemics of HIV in the Asia-Pacific region. According to official statistics, HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men has increased tenfold in the last five years. National education on effective HIV prevention methods is nonexistent, and laws prohibit condom access and HIV testing to people under 18 without parental consent. These factors are contributing to the worsening epidemic among adolescent males who engage in same-sex practices.