Three-Fifths of Filipino Youth Believe They Are Immune to HIV/AIDS, Survey Finds
Three in five people in the Philippines ages 14 to 20 believe they cannot contract HIV and one in five believe incorrectly that the virus can be contracted by drinking contaminated water, kissing or from mosquito bites, according to a recent survey by the country's Department of Health, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports. Because of the survey results, the department is seeking funds for an intensive HIV/AIDS awareness and education campaign aimed at young people. A significant portion of the youth surveyed are sexually active, which puts them at risk for contracting the virus, Eric Tayag, director of the health department's National Epidemiology Center, said on Thursday during a forum for CEOs on HIV/AIDS in the workplace. According to Tayag, youth are part of a "lost generation" that did not benefit from a USAID-sponsored education campaign conducted from 1993 until 2003 (Arceo-Dumlao, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 5/12). In addition, a funding shortage has prevented the health department from launching an HIV/AIDS education campaign for youth, Tayag said. He also said inaccurate information on the Internet has led young people to be misinformed about the disease (Manila Sun Star, 5/12). According to the latest health department statistics, 11,168 HIV-positive people ages 15 to 49 are living in the country. About 86% of HIV-positive people in the country contracted the virus through sex, of those, 62% contracted HIV through heterosexual sex, the statistics show (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 5/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.