The number of new HIV cases reported in the Philippines has surged over the last few years, according the country's health agency. In 2007, fewer than 400 new cases were reported; in 2017, more than 11,000 new cases were identified.
The country had the fastest-growing HIV epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region, according to UNAIDS last year.
At a time like this, the country's leader could encourage safer sex, to prevent further sexually transmitted infections.
Or he could do what Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte did last week — and urge his citizens to forgo condoms during intercourse because "they don't feel good."
The subject arose during a characteristically bizarre digression in a speech to Filipino workers back just from Kuwait. Hundreds of Filipino workers in Kuwait have accepted the Philippines' offer of a free flight home after a Filipino woman's body was found in a freezer of her employer's home in the Gulf state.
Duterte began talking about population growth in the Philippines.
"Filipinos don't know anything else but [mimes gun action] — 110 million, which is why life is hard," he said, according to a translation by CNN. "If we were just 50 million, we could manage food."
He then suggested that women use birth control pills or injectable hormones. "Pills are free. Don't use condoms because they don't feel good," he continued. Read more via NPR