Is the topic of HIV and AIDS off-limits to teens?
It shouldn’t be.
As of June 2017, 32% of new HIV reported cases in the Philippines were of youth ages 15 to 24, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
Overall, the number of new HIV infections in the Philippines has exceeded the 1,000 mark, the DOH found. This is the highest it has been since 1984.
We cannot hide these facts from Filipino teens.
They have to know this reality so they could make informed decisions and take better care of themselves and their loved ones.
Through education, we can protect and empower the Filipino youth. Together, we can break the silence about HIV and AIDS.
A young advocate
In Malabon, we met a young advocate raising awareness about HIV and AIDS prevention.
At only 16, Grace is changing the lives of several teens in her community. She teaches them how to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
She also corrects the many misconceptions about HIV and AIDS. She helps others realize that:
- HIV cannot be transmitted by sharing utensils or food.
- It cannot be transmitted through toilet seats or bowls.
- It cannot be transmitted through mosquitos.
- It cannot be transmitted by simply talking or interacting with someone who is HIV-positive.
- It’s wrong to shame or discriminate HIV-positive people. Instead of spreading stigma, we should spread information.
“I support HIV and AIDS awareness,” Grace said. “For HIV prevention, we have to remember A-B-C-D-E.”
A – bstinence
HIV is transmitted through unprotected sex with someone who is HIV-positive.
B – e faithful
Having multiple sexual partners increases your chances of contracting HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
C – orrect and consistent use of condom
Condoms prevent HIV transmission, but you have to know how to properly use it.
D – on’t use drugs
Needle sharing among those who inject drugs can transmit HIV.
E – ducation
Protect yourself and others through education.
“Let’s learn how to say no,” Grace added. “Don’t be afraid to say no.”
Grace is among the teens Save the Children trains on adolescent health. Together, Grace and her friends are empowering and protecting their fellow youth through education. (WATCH: Raising HIV awareness through yoga)
Empower through education. Support our health and education programs. Donate today, save lives!
Save the Children, in partnership with The Red Whistle and the DOH, developed #SafelyPH, an app which aims to raise HIV and AIDS awareness.
The #SafelyPH app directs the user to the nearest HIV testing center and social hygiene clinics. It works like a map, similar to popular navigation apps like Google Maps, Waze, or Uber.
The #SafelyPH app also serves as an information hub, providing facts, advice, and news concerning HIV and AIDS.
The app is free and easy-to-use. It can be downloaded on the Google Play Store for Android; meanwhile, an iOS version is currently being developed. You may also access its website at http://www.safelyph.com