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Foundation encourages teens to help spread HIV awareness

By Kim Villafuerte

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Philippines alongside the Department of Health Bicol Center for Health Development (DOH Bicol CHD) are calling on teens to actively participate in spreading awareness regarding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as the number of new cases continues to rise. With around 58 new cases reported each day, equating to 2 to 3 Filipinos being diagnosed every hour.

In the Bicol region, where HIV cases are increasing, AHF and DOH urge the youth to engage in interventions and challenge them to spread correct information about HIV within their schools and communities. They are focusing on the younger population because of the data indicating that individuals aged 15-24 and 25-34 are the ones most affected by the disease.

According to AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) country program manager Nenita Laude Ortega, if correct information about HIV is disseminated, individuals in a community who might be HIV positive could get tested and treated immediately before it’s too late and they die from opportunistic infections caused by the virus. The testing procedure is a lot faster nowadays, taking only 20 minutes compared back then when it took more than a year to get the results.

In addition to raising awareness, AHF commemorated those who have died of HIV and fought for the availability of antiretroviral drugs in the country. Ortega also reminded HIV-positive individuals to continue taking their antiretroviral medication religiously to stop the virus from reproducing in their bodies.

Moreover, AHF disclosed a case of a pregnant 15-year-old infected with both HIV and syphilis. The foundation concluded that since there is a rising number of teen pregnancies in the region, it is more likely that teens are engaging in unprotected sex, contributing to the further spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

By challenging the youth to spread correct information and engage in preventive measures, AFH and DOH hope to curb the spread of HIV and ensure early treatment for those affected by the virus.


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