MANILA, Philippines - More Filipinos are testing positive for the AIDS-causing HIV despite the infection rate dropping worldwide, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
The number of people newly infected with HIV declined from 150,000 per year in 2000 to 130,000 in 2011.
In comparison, the rate of new HIV infections increased by more than 25% per year in the Philippines during the same period, the WHO said in a statement.
The United Nations agency blamed inadequate HIV prevention coverage and non-use of condoms of gay men for the reason behind the increase in infections in the country.
"There is low coverage in the Philippines at 25%," the WHO said, quoting the joint United Nations program on HIV/AIDS 2012 global report.
This shows the need for the government to do more to combat the HIV epidemic for gay men, the agency added.
"Unless countries urgently expand access to health services for these key populations, the gains made against the epidemic over the last decade could be jeopardized," the WHO warned.
"We need to strengthen our programs to ensure that these key populations receive the support they need to protect themselves," said Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific.
"We need to scale up and improve sustained, comprehensive, effective and stigma-free HIV prevention efforts focusing on and working with men who have sex with men and transgender people," Shin added.