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Advocates push early testing, more awareness of HIV-AIDS

THE ALLIANCE Against AIDS (Alagad) in Mindanao, Inc. calls for an introduction of early sex education and examinations in educational institutions to curb new HIV-AIDS infections in Davao City. 

Michael Mahinay, Alagad-Mindanao executive director said as of January to May 2023, there are approximately 229 reported cases of HIV-AIDS in Davao City, with most of the ages ranging from 18 years old and below among men having sex with men (MSM). 

Mahinay said one of the factors includes the “behaviors of a person that are not incorporated with the correct knowledge one must responsibly have, particularly when having sexual relations”. 

Nakita pud sa Integrated HIV Behavioral and Serologic Survey (IHBSS), sa Pilipinas, around 70% lang ang condom utilization. Kami sa ALAGAD-Mindanao, sa among project nga Post Reach Out Monitoring Tool, ang among findings sa among na-reachout is 40% ra”, Mahinay said. 

One of the medicines taken to prevent getting HIV is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), which is clinically proven to be highly effective when taken as prescribed. However, through the  PrEP’s findings, cases of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) had also increased on the other hand.

Oscar Obenza, Jr., Olympus Society of Davao, Inc. chairperson, said educational institutions and the local government should make HIV-AIDS a critical discussion that needs to be disseminated particularly to the youth, as early as possible. 

Kung muadto man gud mi sa mga eskwelahan, dili man mi pwede mag-educate og ingani (about HIV-AIDS) nga lantaran, tapos naa’y mga child policies na gina-consider, dili pud mi pwede muhatag og condoms. Dagha’g factors nga muabot gihapon sa pinaka-point nga taboo gihapon sa majority ang topic nga HIV-AIDS and STIs,” Obenza said. 

Obenza also said some educational institutions invite them for symposiums, but there are still a few restrictions, such as no condom distribution and HIV-AIDS testing. 

Various community centers that operated until evening in the city were also helpful enough to those who were interested in conducting HIV-AIDS testing privately, he added. 


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