THERE are 1,249 new cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) recorded in the country.
Of this number, 53 are children and teenagers based on the Department of Health January data on people living with HIV.
This increase alarms Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo who called for the strengthening of the government’s information and education campaign to address the continuing rise of HIV-AIDS cases especially among the millennials.
Salo, one of the principal authors of the HIV-AIDS Policy Act, noted that the 53 children and teenagers were infected through sexual contact.
“We need more aggressive information and education campaigns, especially for the people who are more exposed to the risks,” Salo said.
Based on the record, 46 of the new cases were 18 to 19 years old, while seven were 15 to 17 years old.
The record added that 45 of these kids had male to male sex, five had coitus with both males and females, while three had male-female heterosexual intercourse.
In addition, there were also 4 children younger than 10 years old who got HIV from their own mothers while they were still in the womb. For the pregnant mothers who are at risk of HIV exposure, early detection will save their and their children’s lives.
Salo said the Department of Health (DoH), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and Philippine Information Agency (PIA) should bolster public awareness on how HIV-AIDS is transmitted and where the public can go to be tested.
“Since there is a growing number of young students who acquire HIV, the DepEd, CHEd, and the schools should come up with specific programs on how to make the millennials understand the consequences of engaging in risky sexual behaviors and the dangers of acquiring HIV-AIDS,” Salo said.
“We also call on the church, civil society organizations and the parents to do their share in educating our children against risky sexual behavior and the dangers of getting infected with HIV-AIDS. Everyone must do his share in preventing the continued and further spread of this incurable disease,” she added.