Lack of awareness still a major reason for rising HIV cases in PH – group

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 19) — The lack of awareness about the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is one of the reasons behind the rising cases of infections in the country, an advocacy group said Tuesday.

“Madalas po siguro sa karamihan ng mga tao, hindi rin po nila alam kung paano iwasan ang HIV. Hindi rin po nila alam kung ano nga ba ang HIV. So [the lack of] awareness pa rin po ang isa sa pinakamatinding dahilan kung bakit tumataas ang mga kaso,” said LoveYourself, Inc. Head of Programs and Innovations Danvic Rosadiño in an interview with CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Ngayon.

[Translation: Oftentimes, most people do not know what HIV is and how to prevent getting HIV. So the lack of awareness is still one of the major reasons why cases are going up.]

LoveYourself, Inc also noted that it doesn’t help that discussions on sexual lifestyles remain a taboo.

“Dahil hindi natin napag-uusapan ang mga subject tungkol sa pakikipagtalik, hindi rin natin siya napag-uusapan in a way, parte natin ito ng proteksyon o pag-alaga sa sarili,” added Rosadiño.

[Translation: Because we don’t talk about subjects related to sex, we also fail to discuss it so that we can protect ourselves.]

HIV can be transmitted through sexual contact, sharing of needles, and blood transfusions from an infected person. There is still no cure for it, but HIV infection can be managed.

The Department of Health earlier reported 1,256 cases in May 2023. Of those cases, 396 or 32% were 15-24 years old.

This brings the total number of infections in the country to 116,504 since January 1984, it added.

READ: DOH chief on rising HIV cases: I am alarmed

Practicing safe sex by using condoms and taking pre-exposure prophylaxis can help prevent HIV, the group said. LoveYourself advised immediate testing for those who think they might have been exposed.

“Napakaimportante ng maagang testing kasi dito po natin nalalaman kung ano yung perfect na combination prevention option para sa kanya, or ibig sabihin kung paano maiiwasan ang HIV o maiwasan maipasa,” said Rosadiño.

[Translation: It’s very important to get tested immediately because then we can immediately identify the perfect combination for prevention, which means how one can prevent getting HIV or transmit it.]