Gays warn Philippine
village councils: condom ordinances to boost HIV risks
By ProGay Philippines
March 30, 2011
BAGUIO CITY – GAY,
lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights (LGBT) activists decried the
ordinance restricting the sale, distribution and use of condoms in
several barangay (village) councils in a Philippine province, saying
that the measure will surely spike the rising HIV infection rates
spokesperson of the The Progressive Organization of Gays (ProGay
Philippines), said that the group opposes the successive passage of
local ordinances that require consumers to obtain medical
prescriptions for acquiring condoms in Manila and in Bataan.
This is such a
dangerous trend, coming at a time when HIV infections in the
Philippines have suddenly increased in the past two years. Making it
difficult for most at risk populations or MARPs to obtain preventive
measures such as condoms can surely promote more transmission of HIV
and parallel infections," Candelario said.
ProGay also said that
it is high time to enact the comprehensive reproductive health bill so
that not only heterosexual couples can get access to health care but
also the low-income LGBTs of the country, which the groups said should
also benefit from health legislation.
The gay advocacy group
is backing the Comprehensive Reproductive Health Bill proposed by
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan in the House of
Representatives. At the moment, five different bills have been
consolidated into House Bill 4244 or An Act Providing for a National
Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population
ProGay said that
although LGBT health concerns are not yet highlighted in HB 4244, any
positive reproductive health measure can eventually benefit LGBTs as
some services, education campaigns and benefits can be tailored by
creative local governments to cater to the special needs of LGBTs.
"Gays and lesbians are
also members of poor families and caring and providing for health
needs that are part of our burdens. If the RH Bill is passed, that
would provide a little government assistance for health care,
lessening costs which can then be channeled for education, housing and
food," Candelario explained.
The ProGay leader
revealed that the health care sector of the country must also be
updated to become more gender-sensitive and focus specific services
for LGBT reproductive health needs, as the these populations can be
more prone to undiagnosed cervical cancers, breast cancers, and STDs.
ProGay said that poverty has pushed some gay and transgender youth
into prostitution, which exposes them to even greater risks of HIV
discrimination they suffer from misinformed doctors and health
workers, many LGBTs delay or avoid altogether early diagnostic
procedures rather than be humiliated by moralistic medics," Candelario
The group said that
condom ordinances in Bataan would increase the sense of shame and
discrimination that LGBTs suffer, raising the likelihood that young
and low income gays would practice unprotected sex.