DOH bats for education, awareness as daily HIV case rate soars to 55

By Darryl John Esguerra

May 22, 2024, 5:02 pm

<p><em>(File PNA Photo)</em></p>

(File PNA Photo)

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is looking at new approaches to address the spike in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases in the country, including increased awareness and education among youth.

According to Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa, 59,000 Filipinos are living with HIV, which is still considered low for the country’s population of 110 million.

Herbosa, however, said that what is alarming is the country’s daily case rate of 55.

He said the youth are the most vulnerable, with those as young as 15 years old getting infected with the virus.

“I actually had a meeting with (Vice President) Sara Duterte, Secretary Sara, kasi (because) we need to educate our youth,” Herbosa told Palace reporters in an interview Wednesday.

“They're more, ano, nag-e-experiment (They are more experimental) and curious.”

The government is also looking to make antiretroviral treatment (ARV) available in the private sector to enable individuals with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), the chronic disease caused by HIV, to treat themselves, he said, noting that ARV is only available through government health institutions.

“So iniisip ko ngayon (I’m thinking) we could have a program where we can allow the doctors or a guardian to allow the ARVs to be had. Kasi ang ARV natin sa gobyerno lang makukuha (Because ARVs can only be accessed through the government) through PhilHealth. You can't buy it in the private sector,” Herbosa said. “The other thing is probably make it available in the private sector.” (PNA)