The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) is planning to conduct Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) testing in schools.
But Dr. Van Philip Baton, coordinator of Re-Emerging Infectious Disease Program of DOH-7, clarified that a consent of the parents or guardians is needed before conducting the procedure.
Based on their studies, he said people as young as 16 years old are now engaged in sex.
Based on the data of DOH-7, the age group of 15-24 years old got the second highest spot in new cases of HIV, while those between the ages of 25 and 34 got the highest spot.
He said that most teenagers don’t use contraceptives like condom, resulting to higher risk of having an HIV.
“The School clinics can always request HIV testing kits from us for their students who want to undergo HIV testing. In fact, there is a Parents –Teachers Association (PTA) that is very supportive of our campaign,” Dr. Baton said.
Baton urged the youth who are sexually active to undergo HIV testing.
Meanwhile, Central Visayas is now on the third spot among the regions in the country with the highest cases of HIV from January 1984 up to June this year with 4,066 cases.
Baton said Central Visayas is a point of entry for people from the Visayas and Mindanao, which might have contributed to the rise of HIV cases in the region.
The National Capital Region (NCR) ranks first with 18,823 cases, followed by Region 4-A with 6,407 cases.
From January to June this year, a total of 447 cases of HIV and 39 cases of AIDS were reported to the DOH-7, while an average of 30 cases were reported per day in the whole country.
There were also seven new cases of mother to child transmission for this year.
“Most of them are mothers with a husband addicted to drugs. Though, these children are healthy and have been enrolled with the antiretroviral therapy of the DOH,” he added.
Due to this, Baton urged pregnant mothers to undergo HIV screening to avoid transmitting the virus to the child.
Aside from sex and mother to child transmission, HIV can also be transmitted by blood transfusion and using illegal drugs through sharing of needles.