Asian Development Bank (ADB) will sponsor a programme to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS by raising awareness among high-risk groups in the Philippines in partnership with the government's Department of Health, members of the private sector and non-government organizations.
Strengthening Country Response to HIV/AIDS among High-Risk Groups is a subproject of ADB's Regional Technical Assistance for Fighting HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific project. The subproject aims to improve the effectiveness of the national and local response to the epidemic among groups considered high-risk, such as intravenous drug users and overseas There were around 60 workshop participants who shared their experiences, lessons learned and challenges in working with these high-risk groups. ADB Philippines Country Director Thomas Crouch and Health Undersecretary Ethelyn P. Nieto attended the workshop. The subproject has two components. The first involves the development of strategies to reduce harm caused by the disease and to test those strategies. The second involves building up capacity for HIV prevention and care for overseas Filipino workers, especially seafarers. The Department of Health has conceded that it cannot do the job of combating the spread of HIV/AIDS alone and recognizes the need to collaborate with other government agencies, international organizations, non-government organizations, civil society, and co-members in the Philippine National AIDS Council. The ability to reach out and assist overseas Filipino workers, on the other hand, is hampered by inadequate referral systems and limited access to HIV services, such as voluntary counseling and treatment. The ADB assistance will be delivered through a team of consultants fielded by Pacific Rim Innovation and Management Exponents, Inc. (PRIMEX) along with two local non-government organizations, Action for Health Initiatives, Inc. and the Remedios AIDS Foundation.