Padilla: Dealing with HIV

MY JANUARY seems to be spot on with the predictions in my Chinese astrology -- that it would be a tough year. Yet what makes it amusing, so far, is how the shocking has become a blessing in ways that I sarcastically call as Catriona Gray’s "silver lining." Topping the list are straight friends who submit themselves to HIV testing -- one with trepidation the size of the blue whale and another with exasperating enthusiasm after devouring all possible web entries about HIV.

So I realized that unprotected sex is still common among the males and its use is still an uncomfortable topic among adults. The use of condom really needs intensive propagation that I have been thinking that

1) Since Pinoys are the fervid patrons of PornHub then probably there can be a law passed to require the adult sex performers to don condoms so much like Hollywood movies where everyone uses the seatbelt and

2) Provide free condoms upon check-in at motels. I would have written free condoms in bars too but realized that the social media (yes, Facebook) is the most common hunting ground. A "hello" that leads to constant chatting then several meet-ups leading to frequent mating sessions whether at the motels, homes, or inside cars. But whatever or whenever it is, condoms are so far the most affordable and the safest shield against HIV and other STIs.

In other countries, PrEp and PEP methods are available methods for preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. This involves taking medicines to avoid infection. If a person thinks s/he has the possibility of being infected after unprotected sex, PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is taken 72 hours after possible exposure. This is especially helpful for those who might have been infected through accidental needle pricks, sharing injection drug equipment or sexual assault. Yet, though it may prevent infection, it may not always be effective.

PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis are medicines taken every day before possible exposure. It is meant for people who do not have HIV yet have a sex partner with HIV, have sex with people whose status is unknown, or share injection drug equipment. PrEP can reduce the risk of getting HIV by more than 90 percent and from injection drug use by more than 70 percent.

The last time I asked, PEP and PrEP kits are not yet available in the Philippines. But with the new policy just signed by President Rodrigo Duterte maybe in time it will be and I do not have to ride around with a blue whale on the way to the health center.


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