Oct 3, 2019

The growing HIV epidemic among young men in the Philippines

Medical technologists speak to people about free HIV testing in Manila. Photo: Maria Tan/AFP/Getty Images

The Philippines faces the world's fastest-growing HIV epidemic, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: According to the UNAIDS agency, the estimated number of new infections in the country has more than doubled in the last 5 years. Doctors and epidemiologists in the country have suggested that dating apps are a major factor.

By the number: Doctors have diagnosed 67,395 Filipinos with HIV since 1984 when the first infection surfaced in the country. Three-quarters of patients were diagnosed in the past 5 years, according to the Philippine government.

  • 96% of those diagnosed in the last 5 years contracted the virus from a sexual encounter, the government said.
  • A large majority of people with newly documented HIV cases were gay and bisexual men aged between 15 and 34.

How it works: The government does not have data on how people met their partners, but the rise in infections coincides with the growing popularity of dating apps.

  • Access to the internet has empowered the LGBTQ community in the conservative Catholic country, but this new freedom has collided with a lack of sex education, HIV screenings and preemptive drugs.
  • Health advocates also said that "traditional social norms have kept people from using contraception and learning about responsible sexual practice," per WSJ.

The government passed legislation that promotes sex education in schools and lowers the age for HIV screening to 15 from 18.

  • With help from nonprofits, the country's health ministry is offering finger-prick HIV tests outside gay clubs and at popular social events.
  • Those who test positive are eligible for antiretrovirals to slow the virus, the government says, but government data shows that "less than half of those tested positive are currently on treatment," per WSJ.

Go deeper: CRISPR gene editing used to treat patient with cancer and HIV

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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The European Union is considering an $826 billion coronavirus rescue package to fund recovery efforts for all member states, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday.

By the numbers: More than 5.6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.3 million have recovered from the virus. Over 355,500 people have died globally. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 15.1 million tests).

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: Over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Nearly 354,000 Americans have recovered and over 15.1 million tests have been conducted. California became the fourth state with at least 100,000 reported cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, along with Illinois, New Jersey and New York.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 5,682,389 — Total deaths: 354,944 — Total recoveries — 2,337,385Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 1,697,459 — Total deaths: 100,276 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine — Nearly half of Americans say someone in their household has delayed medical care.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  8. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  9. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy