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Solons demand HIV awareness among children, adolescents

On Wednesday, lawmakers encouraged concerned government organizations to increase their efforts to educate young people about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

This follows a Department of Health (DOH) report that revealed 79 of the new 1,454 HIV cases identified last January were in people aged 10 to 19, and seven of them were under the age of 10.

Congressman Ray Florence Reyes of the Anakalusugan Party list promoted “complete age-specific sexuality education” in the primary school curricula as a means of preventing HIV infections.

In particular, among our youth, we must confront the HIV epidemic in the Philippines immediately, Reyes stated.

Reyes argued that concerned government organizations cannot keep denying the fact that youngsters are also susceptible to obtaining HIV.

Reyes continued, “We need to educate our kids on the significance of HIV prevention, safe sex practices, and the requirement for routine HIV testing.

He emphasized the need for efforts to combat HIV stigma and prejudice, saying those who are infected should be treated with respect and dignity and not be subject to it.

“We must make sure that people with HIV have access to the proper care and assistance. This entails expanding access to HIV testing, treatment, and counseling services as well as spreading knowledge of the advantages of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and other virus-management measures, according to Reyes.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian called on the DOH and the Department of Education (DepEd) to increase their efforts to educate young people about HIV.

It is disconcerting and heartbreaking to consider that individuals who need double care because of their youth and fragility are the ones who are still suffering, he said in a news release. “Nakakaalarma at nakakalungkot isipin na kung sino pa ang dapat na binibigyan ng dobleng pag-aaruga,” he said.

According to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines’ report for January 2023, 1,365 of the country’s new HIV diagnoses were contracted through sexual contact, with 998 of those cases involving men who said they had intercourse with another man, 193 involving women, and 240 involving both men and women.

Gatchalian declared he will pursue a Senate investigation into teen pregnancies and HIV infections among young people.

He submitted Senate Resolution No. 13 last year in order to monitor and evaluate the execution of DepEd’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE).

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