By Betheena Unite
Condom use in the Philippines should be scaled up to more than 80 percent, way higher than the latest data of 42 percent use, in a bid to prevent the rapid spread of human immunodeficiency viruses in the country.
Medical Specialist Dr. Joselito Feliciano, of the Philippine National AIDS Council, bared that as of 2015 record condom use in the country is only at 42 percent.
“Ang gusto sana natin umabot ito sa more than 80 percent. Doon pa lang natin makikita na may impact sa epidemic natin (We want to scale up to more than 80 percent. From there we will see its impact to the epidemic),” Feliciano said.
According to him, surveillance on condom use from 35 sites is conducted every two years. The latest data will be made available in October, he said.
“’Pag mababa pa din ‘yan, ibig sabihin hindi enough ang response natin. kailangan natin mag-scale up kasi may mga survey na nagsasabi na medyo mababa ang knowledge natin (If it remains low, that would only mean that we don’t have enough response and we need to scale up because surveys show that we don’t have enough knowledge about it),” Feliciano noted.
He stressed that the knowledge of men having sex with men (MSM) on condom use is high, however, it is not translated to actual usage for their protection.
“Sa mga survey, minsan hindi available ang condoms, minsan walang pambili ng condoms, o ayaw lang gumamit ng condoms. (Based on surveys, sometimes there are no available condoms, or they couldn’t afford it or sometimes, they just don’t want to use it). It can be due to discomfort or they forget to use one,” Feliciano explained.
The problem now lies on knowledge and behavior, the medical expert said.
He also cited that guidelines on HIV/AIDS testing among minors must be revisited in order to come up with an enhanced response and support system for young patients.
“’Pag wala ‘yong support group, paano tatanggapin ng bata ‘pag nagpositive? ‘Yon ang iniiwasan natin, pwedeng mag-result to suicidal tendency kaya kailangan may support group na sasalo. (If there’s no support group, how will the minor accept if the result is positive? That’s what we want to avoid because it can lead to suicidal tendency so there has to be a support group that will help),” Feliciano said.