Philippines: Three out of Five Youths Think They're Immune to AIDS
May 12, 2006
Among those ages 14-20 in the Philippines, as many as three out of five believe they are immune to HIV/AIDS, and one in five believes the virus can be transmitted by kissing, contaminated drinking water and mosquito bites.
The results of the Department of Health survey prompted officials to search for money to fund an intensive campaign to educate youths about HIV/AIDS.
The young people surveyed represent part of a "lost generation" that missed out on the prevention campaign conducted from 1993 to 2003 and funded by the US Agency for International Development, said Dr. Eric Tayag, director of the National Epidemiology Center at the department.
Many young people are distracted by music and fashion, Tayag said, and it is difficult to get them to pay attention to the message of HIV prevention. But because many are sexually active, they are at risk, Tayag said. The department is considering taking the messages directly to schools, but no funds are available for this effort, he said.
The department has documented 11,168 people ages 15-49 with HIV/AIDS. For 86 percent of patients, the route of transmission was sexual: 62 percent of infections were attributed to heterosexual activity.
Edgar Chua, country chairperson of the Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. and head of the business and health group of the Philippine Business for Social Progress, urged businesses to get involved by funding AIDS prevention programs in the workplace.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
05.12.2006; Tina Arceo-Dumlao
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.