October 25, 2011
Many young Filipinos use the Internet to arrange sexual encounters, a practice that could also fuel the spread of HIV, according to an AIDS Society of the Philippines (ASP) study presented Oct. 21 at the society's general science meeting in Quezon City. The study was based on interviews with 650 young workers in Manila and 330 in Laguna in 2009, and 10 focus groups and 15 interviews conducted last year.
At least 47 percent of the 334 male respondents in Manila said they used text-messaging to arrange sexual encounters, while 39 percent chose online chat rooms. Just 14.6 percent of the 316 females from Manila said they used chat rooms to initiate a meet-up; 25 percent said they arranged meetings using their mobile phones.
Altogether, from two to five out of 10 Filipinos ages 18-29 used text-messaging and chat rooms to meet potential sex partners. At least 29 percent of non-LGBT respondents from Manila used text-messaging for this purpose, and 17.6 percent went to chat rooms. However, 52 percent of the 214 LGBT respondents said they used text-messaging, and 48 percent used chat rooms, to arrange sexual encounters.
From January to August of this year, the Department of Health has recorded 1,350 new HIV cases and 66 AIDS cases. Of these patients, 97 percent acquired the infection sexually, and most were men who have sex with men.