NYC calls for Baguio to be proactive: AIDS scare hits youth

THE NATIONAL Youth Commission (NYC) has declared an AIDS epidemic.

NYC Commissioner for Luzon Perci Cendaña said the HIV epidemic in the country has a new face and it is the face of a young person.

“AIDS is now affecting young people at an unprecedented rate,” said Cendaña.

According to NYC records, out of the 29 Filipinos that get infected every day in the Philippines, more than half or 19 are 15 to 24 years old. 25 out of the 29 are 15 to 30 years old

“We need to have a comprehensive sexual education and HIV information for awareness among adolescents,” added Cendana.

Data obtained by the NYC show 62 percent of all new HIV infections are among young people 15 to 24 years old. If the age coverage is expanded to 15 to 30 years old, the youth percentage in all new HIV infections will reach a staggering 85 percent.

Cendaña and the NYC is pushing for HIV testing for 15 to 17 year olds even without parental consent. “Our youth are sexually active at ang alam nila ay may gamot ang AIDS,” Cendaña said adding the information on the disease has to be re-echoed to the new generation to erase misconceptions.

In 2015, Benguet, Abra and Apayao are included in the high Impact areas, the HI – 5 respond to the achievement of MDG Number 4 – Reduce Child Mortality; No. 5 – Improve Maternal Health, and No. 6 – Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases.

DOH-CAR has already recorded 174 HIV cases in the region since the 80’s.

Cendaña said Baguio, known as a University City must be more aggressive in a full blown HIV campaign including university tours.

Based on the 2015 record of the City Social Hygiene Clinic show most of the new HIV cases are MSM (men having sex with men) with 300 MSN tested, resulting to nine were HIV positive, and out of the total 5,000 tested in the city, 12 were positive, including a mother and child.

NYC Chairperson Aiza Seguerra called attention to the incidence of HIV among young Filipinos.

"The NYC is extremely alarmed by the unprecedented spike in HIV infection among our youth. HIV AIDS is one the most urgent concerns facing the Filipino youth today. Our young people are at risk and vulnerable. There has to be immediate and comprehensive interventions to address this epidemic.”

Cendaña meanwhile said preparations for the December 1 commemoration of World Aids Day will be done in partnership with the Department of Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial and line agencies to advocate for an massive education campaign.
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