HIV numbers ‘terrifying’ in Philippines as more millennials are diagnosed
Millennials living in the Philippines are the most likely to receive a positive HIV diagnosis.
Monthly figures from April show there were 629 new notifications of HIV in the Philippines. More than half of those people were aged between 15 and 34 years old.
The Department of Health released the monthly data earlier this week. The DOH said 343 of the new cases were men who have sex with men. The remaining diagnoses were from sexual contact, injecting drug use and two cases were from mother to child transmission.
The figures bring the 2017 total to 3290 new HIV transmissions.
‘The latest data on HIV/AIDS in the Philippines is terrifying. The victims are getting younger and there are many young millennial men having sex with other men who contract HIV in the process,’ said Federal politician Harlin Neil Abayon in a statement.
‘These figures are clear proof our country needs better education of the Filipino youth on how they care for their sexual health.
‘We must train teachers and human resource department personnel, as well as deploy more health workers with special training on HIV/AIDS education and prevention to these places.’
Young people trending in the Philippines
The latest numbers of young people diagnosed with HIV are on trend with 2017 figures.
In the first three months of this year, 830 individuals aged between 15 to 24 were diagnosed with HIV.
HIV prevention advocacy group The Red Whistle said it was hard for young people to access testing. In the Philippines people age 18 years or younger must have parental consent.
‘Can you imagine if you’re 18 below and you ask your parents, hey can I get this signed?’ Red Whistle cofounder Niccolo Cosme told CNN Philippines.
‘It is important because you want to desensitize the youth that it’s okay to talk about sex, it’s okay if you’re engaging in it.
‘But (they need to know) there are these options and there are these risks that you are facing right now.’
A United Nations report showed teenagers were ‘silent victims’ of HIV in the Asia-Pacific.
The Philippines has one of the highest proportion of adolescents living with HIV, at almost 10% of total people living with HIV.