Human Immunodeficiency or most commonly known as HIV, a virus which infects cells of the immune system, making the patient vulnerable to infections, is now being sensed at a high level here in our country. Our population is climbing at a fast rate which is why these types of viruses spread easily. Since May of last year, there had been reports that the Philippines incur this virus at a larger scale never than before. Just as this year started, the Department of Health (DOH) announced not-so-good news that should not be neglected or denied by the youth. They have been keeping track of the number of cases of HIV here in our country with 7,756 cases in 2016.
The lack of s*x education and the unavailability of protection against sexually transmitted diseases are one reason of the ongoing cases of HIV, according to Dr. Gundo Weiler of World Health Organization. There are 10,000 newly diagnosed cases here in the Philippines, which ranked third after Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“The youth has become the face of HIV epidemic and the rising number of cases is alarming,” according to NYC Chairperson Aiza Seguerra. She also added that person living with acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) can only live up to 10 years.
Seguerra was confident enough that if the parents would openly discuss sex with their children, it will combat the continuous increase of HIV/AIDS cases. Parents should tell their children that they need to be protected, because it can happen to your kids – to our children. Talk to your children as if you are discussing an ordinary topic under the sun.
DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial said that their group will be distributing condoms after providing students with counseling once they are able to agree with the Department of Education on a strategy to combat the rise of HIV and AIDS among Fiipino youth. On the other hand, this strategy was claimed by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) that it will only result in the spread of HIV-AIDS.
The DOH is advising the people living with HIV to come out and have themselves undergo HIV testing and also those individuals who are sexually active, particularly those who have multiple sex partners. Our country is using antiretroviral treatment (ART) to treat people with HIV/AIDS. Virus can be identified in a person three months from the time of actual infection.
There is one scenario in the market when a 24-year old Bryan, a peer educator from HIV/AIDS support group PinoyPlus, who tried to purchase a condom in a store but the saleslady requested for his ID and why is he buying. Human Rights Watch Researcher for the Philippines Carlos Conde stated that the government policies on this are not sufficient because condoms are one way of preventing HIV infection and abstinence is an improbable answer.
Before, most Filipino female sex workers and overseas Filipino workers are the starting point of the spread of HIV. This altered to males having sex with males (MSM). But if the government would only be more conscious, this illness might have been prevented.
There was this 20-year old man from Misamis Oriental, HRW’s interviewees, who is engaged in commercial sex work since he was 17 and caters frequently male clients. He does it to pay for his schooling and doesn’t have any idea about HIV and condoms.
Increasing infections among drug users sharing contaminated needles combined with low condom use and high fertility rates – children acquiring the virus through mother-to child transmission.
This epidemic is affecting mostly young people. The government is calling all different stakeholders to be of assistance in empowering the youth with the right of information to prevent spread the virus.
The Duterte administration was trying to treat the legal and policy errors of previous administrations by implementing proven low-tech and low-cost interventions that can help stop the HIV epidemic.