I just got home from a late-night HIV screening, we had two activities last night. 1 for a clan of young men in their early twenties and the other one, in a blue bar where most men are in their late twenties or thirties
“…Tonight, we had two Screening activities, one for a clan in taytay vs a blue bar in Morato
Seems it’s easier to encourage people in their late 20s-30s to take an hiv screening compared to those in their early 20s… Or even listen to basic hiv info.
Lack of maturity?
Of course, there’s the AIDS law that says that people below 18 should have prior parental consent before they can access HIV testing.
Is this why the 15-24yo incidence goin’ up? Late test? Lack of awareness? Refusal to get info?
The AIDS medium-term plan and the Philippine Health sector plan are both focusing highly on the youth or the young key population (YKP). Judging from what happened tonight, I think it’s only proper that we give more effort towards educating the youth and come up with plans to penetrate the young population and give them the correct information that they need to increase HIV awareness and prevent HIV infection.
Men who have sex with men are as it is, very hard to reach and the young key population who are in fact MSM, are even harder to reach.
So yes, the national youth commission is taking the right leap to reach the YKPs, unfortunately efforts toward increasing the reach through community-based HIV screening among the youth was recently (allegedly) gunned down when UNICEF found out that the training cost was too high for them to handle. So we are back to doing what we have been doing the past years, less trained Young population members will be trying to reach out to their peers. We will be heavily dependent on people in their twenties reaching out to our teenagers.
Kudos to efforts around including HIV education (textbook/reference materials) in the High School curriculum that started in Quezon City, I can just hope that this will be rolled out across the country very soon.
Let’s hope for the best.