Proxy consent for minors for HIV-Aids test pushed

PROXY consent to allow minors to avail testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acute Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-Aids) is one of the main discussion topics of the incoming HIV-Aids Summit slated on December 1.

Davao City Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte bared during the Pulong-pulong ni Pulong media forum on Tuesday, November 21, that officials from Department of Health will conduct a forum on the proxy consent and the legal impediments of giving it to minors.

"Concerned sila dahil maraming mga bata na hindi maka-testing because of the legal impediment that if there is no informed consent, no parental consent, hindi pwede sa minor," she said.

She said approving proxy consent will benefit children who are in sex trade, wherein their parents and families do not know what they are doing.

"We have children for example who are in the sex trade and probably their parents and families are not aware of what they are doing so they cannot undergo testing. We are pushing for proxy consent so that the concerned health care professional, doctor, or even social worker can give proxy consent so that the minor can be tested for HIV," she said.

Villafuerte said the youngest HIV-positive in the city is only 13 years old.

She said those who can avail of proxy consent are those who do not have available parents or other people who can give them consent.

"It will be justified naman because HIV falls under life threatening illnesses," she added.

Villafuerte said she is urging the Department of Education to include reproductive health education on their curriculum since the victims of HIV-Aids are getting younger.

"The age range is really young, though majority is 25 to 34, it is becoming younger and younger," she said.

Villafuerte said social media exposure and usage of dating apps are some of the factors why some minors are getting HIV-Aids.

"These are the things we are addressing and we hope that we can address that through the second city-wide Teen Congress," she said.

The Teen Congress, which is a separate event, will be held this month.

In Davao City, the recent data from the Department of Health recorded a total number of 230 positive from January to June this year, with grand total of 2,080 since 1984.

Villafuerte said approval of the proxy consent may be challenging in the Congress since lawmakers may object it and instead support the need to have a parental consent.

"But in Davao wala tayong problema (for approval). Our mayor is supporting proxy consent and the reasons they (DOH) are coming in Davao are coming here to do it (the summit) and launch it here because they want Davao to be the pilot," she said.

Villafuerte said Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio already expressed her support in giving proxy consent to minors.
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