October 19, 2012
A study conducted by the Department of Health states that online social networking is contributing to the rise in cases of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines. Dr. Eric Tayag, director of the National Epidemiology Center, told a seminar for media on HIV/AIDS on October 18 that burgeoning social networking sites that cater to those looking for sex partners have been pinpointed as one of the major factors in the rise of HIV/AIDS cases in the Philippines. The study conducted by the Department of Health last year found that sites are creating new opportunities, particularly for men having sex with men to meet sex partners.
The study involved 180 MSM respondents, of which 124 admitted to using online social network sites for dating and sex, while 133 claimed to have had sex with individuals who they had contacted through online network sites. Those who engaged in sex were between the ages of 14 and 36. Approximately 79 percent of the study participants, or 143, claimed to have used condoms during sexual encounters, but the majority said they do not use them consistently because they are not always available. Others said they do not like to use them, partners would not allow them to use them, or they do not think it is necessary to use one.