HIV prevalence in the Philippines has been described as “low and slow,” but an HIV epidemic is likely to emerge as the components for such an epidemic are already present in the Philippines, according to a study in the Journal of the International AIDS Society.

While the number of people living with HIV throughout Asia is around 5-10 million—with prevalence estimates well over one percent among adults in numerous countries—the Philippines has maintained an HIV prevalence of less than 0.1 percent.

Experts are predicting a dramatic increase in HIV cases in the Philippines due to several factors: low rates of condom use, increasing casual sexual activity, needle sharing among injection drug users (IDUs) and lack of education about HIV/AIDS, among other factors.

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1. Farr AC, Wilson DP. An HIV epidemic is ready to emerge in the Philippines. Journal of the International AIDS Society 2010; 13: 16. (open access)