Jun 29, 2017

The Department of Health (DOH) recently reported that 629 individuals have been diagnosed with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, as of April 2017. About 80 percent of those who were HIV-positive were millennials, aged 15 to 35.

HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system which means that if a person leaves it untreated, he or she will find it harder and harder to fend off infections and other diseases.

A big number of those who were infected got it from sexual contact, most of which belong to the male-having-sex-with-male (MSM) population. Homosexual contact had the highest number, followed by the bisexual contact and then the heterosexual contact. Aside from sexual transmission, the HIV report also stated that some individuals contracted the virus from infected needles.

HIV is found in semen, vaginal and anal fluids, and breast milk and it cannot be transmitted through sweat, saliva, and urine.

Many LGBT organizations are actively campaigning against HIV/AIDS. (Photo courtesy of Inquirer.net)

Based on the statistics alone, the rising number of HIV cases in the country is indeed alarming. The things is, once the virus enters the body, it’s there for life. There are still no available cure for HIV but there are medicines called antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) which stop the virus from multiplying.

Get tested

The report only includes the people who got tested, so it is possible for the rate to go higher. “These figures are proof are clear proof our country needs better education of the Filipino youth on how they care for their sexual health,” says Aangat Tayo party-list representative Neil Abayon in a statement. Sexually active individuals need to get tested as soon as possible to start treatment early (if positive). Though the virus is also transmitted in other ways, it’s better to get tested now than be sorry later.

The Red Whistle is a non-profit organization that helps raise awareness on the situation to encourage community action and facilitates access or referral to HIV services such as HIV testing, treatment, and support services. You can see a list of HIV testing centers here.

The Department of Health’s HIV report is proof that sex education is an integral part of life now, and we need to remove the stigma of ‘sex’ as a taboo topic among the youth. Remember, prevention is better than cure; and for the youth, prevention begins with proper education.

 

Featured image courtesy of Inquirer.net.

TAGS: AIDS HIV HIV awareness human immunodeficiency virus millennial millennials nolisoliph sexually transmitted infection