Statement of UNAIDS on news reports of a new HIV strain in the Philippines

UNAIDS is concerned that media reports which make reference to HIV research in the Philippines are being interpreted as saying that there is a new and untreatable strain of the virus in the country. 

There is no new strain of HIV which has been found in the Philippines. The variants of the virus found in the Philippines have not changed and are similar to the strains of the virus found in many parts of Asia and in other parts of the world. 

In addition, there is no conclusive evidence that the strains of the virus found in the country are more infectious than other virus variants, nor is there evidence that they are resistant to the current treatment regimens available.

As with all strains of HIV, prevention measures such as consistent condom use, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP), and universal treatment which achieves viral suppression are effective in reducing transmission. All the strains found in the Philippines are effectively treated with the country’s approved antiretroviral therapy options.  

Dr Jose Gerard Belimac, Program Manager of the National HIV/AIDS/STI Prevention and Control Program (NASPCP) has highlighted that early testing, early diagnosis, and immediate treatment initiation are fundamentals to halting the growth of the country’s epidemic.  

Louie R. Ocampo

Country Director, UNAIDS Philippines

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