June 24, 2024

An advocate for the prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) said parents need to monitor the viewing patterns of their children to prevent them from accessing pornographic contents.

Nestor Peleño, assistant secretary of the Baguio Association of Nightspots, said parental guidance must remain in this age when access to online contents is easy.

Peleño said children nowadays can easily access pornographic contents online and this should be regulated. As a way to discourage the young from engaging in promiscuous activities, Peleño said parental guidance plays a crucial role in ensuring that children are well-educated about the effects of pornography and help them in their decision-making.

City Health Services Office Acting Head, Dr. Celiaflor Brillantes, shared the view.

“It takes a lot of responsibility and maturity to control yourself,” she said, reiterating the importance of educating the youth of basic life skills, such as decision-making since they have to decide for themselves eventually.

Pornography is seen as among the factors that contribute to the development of promiscuous behavior, which is one of the risk factors for HIV.

Stakeholders discussed the various prevention and treatment options for HIV/AIDS during a forum in line with the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day recently.

Baguio, being a tourist destination and an educational center, is flocked by people who come to the city for diagnosis and treatment.

Based on the data of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center as of April, there are 1,118 individuals diagnosed with HIV of which 685 stayed to get treated, 167 passed away, and 266 transferred to other hubs.

Among all prevention methods, condoms still serve as the best mode of protection.

Department of Health-Cordillera HIV/AIDS and STI Coordinator Darwin Babon said there is a sufficient supply of condoms but they are more concerned with the distribution and access of condoms.

He said they are strategizing to establish sites where condoms can be accessed outside health facilities like bars, nightspots, comfort rooms, and other private establishments because most sexual activities occur beyond working hours.

The DOH has strengthened its campaign against HIV/AIDS through the Project Nurturing Awareness, Mobilizing Networks, and Advocating to Mitigate the impact of AIDS in the Cordillera which is the banner project of HIV and STI program adopting a framework of prevention through education.

It targets far-flung areas which are the most affected populations, having adolescents or those 15 to 24 years old as the most vulnerable age group.

The DOH is targeting the age group, which includes Senior High School students from far-flung areas who will soon move to the urban areas.

The DOH also aims to increase HIV screening which leads to treatment and ensure that their rights are well-protected.

Another prevention method is through pre-exposure prophylaxis, an HIV prevention medicine. However, it is only administered to high-risk exposures and compared to other prevention methods, it only has over 60 to 80 percent effectiveness.

Jomari Gandia, representative of a community-based organization, discouraged the public from taking HIV/AIDS testing at home although he said they are teaching those who avails self-testing kits to do basic pricking procedures to ensure reliability of the result.

Dr. Bernard Dermot, BGHMC medical specialist, said when HIV could no longer be traced in the screening, it is not potent enough to infect anyone.

He said one of BGHMC’s treatment methods is the anti-retroviral treatment, which has fewer side effects but more effective.

He said a three to six-month treatment increases the client’s chances of becoming undetectable from 98 to 99 percent.

At present, BGH has given 611 anti-retroviral therapies for free and is also giving away free medication, screenings, and diagnostics.

The health officials assured HIV has come to a point that it is easy to diagnose and that there are various treatments available. – Jenfrey Benafin