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Manila, December 02, 2017 — To commemorate Worlds AIDS Day on December 1, the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines joined with Better Together, LoveYourself, UNAIDS, the City of Taguig, and other partners to support the first-ever “Love Gala.” “The Love Gala: Stand Up for World AIDS Day 2017" united partners in the fight against HIV/AIDS and raised awareness of the devastating impact the disease has had in Asia and the Pacific.
 
Globally, an estimated 36.7 million people have HIV/AIDS and more than 35 million people have died from the disease, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.  The Philippines has registered the fastest-growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region over the past six years, with a 140% increase in the number of new infections.  As of August 2017,almost 47,000 Filipinos were infected with HIV and 2,300 Filipinos have died from the disease.
 
The Love Gala featuredthe Philippines’ first-ever Ripple Awards, which honored outstanding contributors who have worked to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS and reduce stigmas about the disease in the Philippines.  It also featured a concert and a fashion show headlined by popular Philippine artists and designers such as Regine Velasquez-Alcasid and Francis Libiran, who are also advocates for HIV-AIDS awareness. U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Y. Kim spoke at the Gala about the United States’ ongoing commitment to combating HIV/AIDS.
 
The U.S. Embassy recognizes that persons battling HIV/AIDS continue to face the threat of inequality and discrimination.  Violence and discrimination targeting any vulnerable group undermines our collective security and is contrary to American values.  Support for this Gala was just one small part of the U.S. government’s overall efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.
 
Launched in 2003, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has provided U.S. government support to more than 60 countries to  prevent, detect, and respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and provide critical access to services by all populations impacted by this disease, especially the most vulnerable and at-risk groups.
 
In the Philippines, the U.S. Embassy regularly partners with the Philippine government and NGOs to raise awareness about HIV/AIDs, protect vulnerable populations, and strengthen capacity to combat the disease.  The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for example, has partnered with the Philippine Department of Health to establish the Department’s Integrated HIV Behavioral and Serologic Surveillance system, which collects, analyzes and interprets HIV/AIDS data.  In 2015, USAID also helped develop HIV “cascade” models which identify new HIV/AIDS cases and track treatment adherence by analyzing the continuum of HIV prevention, care, and treatment.
 
To find out more about theLove Gala: Stand Up for World AIDS Day 2017 and the partner organizations that made the event possible visit: http://lovegala.org/.   Ticket proceeds for the Gala were donated to HIV/AIDS non-profit organizations.

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