MANILA – Accessibility to social media could be one of the factors for the increase in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases among adolescents and teenagers, a health official said Tuesday.
This, after the Department of Health’s (DOH) latest data registry showed 79 new cases among 10 to 19 years old and seven new cases among children below 9 years old in January.
“Even before we had been detecting also pero paisa isa lang naman among teenagers, kaya nga po ang ating paalala wala pong pinipiling edad ang HIV (Even before we had been detecting also, but we were logging only a few among teenagers, that’s why we are reminding everyone that the HIV chooses no age),” said DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire in a media briefing.
She noted that lack of awareness is not the only factor through which adolescents and teenagers acquire HIV.
“Ngayon po napansin natin among the young individuals who are practicing unsafe sex, they already have social media applications where they can meet and chat at eto na po ‘yung ginagamit ng mga kabataan natin ngayon para sila ay magkaroon ng ganitong klaseng pagkikita at illicit behavior (We have noticed among the young individuals who are practicing unsafe sex, they already have social media applications where they can meet and chat, and they’re using for this kind of engagements and illicit behavior),” she said.
Since sexual contact is the main mode of transmission of HIV among cases, Vergeire reminded adolescents and teenagers that such behavior could lead to diseases.
Parents are encouraged to educate their children about the risks of practicing illicit behavior.
“Kung sa tingin niyo po nagkaaroon kayo ng risky behavior, libre po ang gamutan at test for HIV. Kailangan niyo lang pumunta (If you think you had risky behavior, the treatment and test for HIV is free. You just need to go) to your local governments,” Vergeire said.
Acquiring HIV is no longer a “death sentence” as medicines that can prolong the patient’s life are already available, she noted. (PNA)