Dealing with the reality

Credit to Author: Tempo Desk| Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2019 16:10:34 +0000

cardie roque that's the spirit



THE worsening Acquired Im­munodeficiency Virus Infec­tion and Acquired Immune De­ficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) problem in our country is real. According to the Department of Health (DoH), there were more than 11 thousand new HIV/AIDS cases in our country in 2017.

Given the social media phe­nomenon and its negative effect of becoming a platform that facili­tate easier “sexual” encounters particularly among the Filipino youth, we can expect that the HIV/AIDS problem in the Philip­pines will continue to worsen unless effective interventions are made by and in all sectors our society.

Last week, the government put forward one of the needed interventions—a national policy on the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS through the enact­ment of Republic Act No. 11166 or the HIV/AIDS Policy Act of 2018.

The enactment of the said law is clearly an expression of the government’s recognition that it is in the best interest of the Filipino public for current reali­ties about the HIV/AIDS situation in our country be addressed by more effective measures.

One of the most notable provi­sions of the new law is the non-requirement of parental consent HIV/AIDS testing for minors with ages from 15 years. Another significant provision is the free treatment of HIV/AIDS.

These are significant because it is obvious that one of the factors that contributed to the increase in HIV/AIDS cases is late detec­tion of infections, which in turn is caused by cultural and legal restrictions on HIV/AIDS testing. Another cause of the worsening HIV/AIDS problem is the high cost of treatment.

Prior to the enactment of RA No. 11166, parental consent is required for HIV/AIDS testing just like for any other medical tests and treatments.

Some aspects of our culture hinder HIV/AIDS testing because generally, “sexual” matters are not openly discussed by children with their parents.

Given the new law, minors can be tested even without their par­ents knowing it.

The non-requirement of paren­tal consent does not mean sacrific­ing the welfare of children. The government has given assurance that minors who will undergo HIV/AIDS tests have the support of social workers and other needed health professionals.

Testing and early detection are key elements in addressing the HIV/AIDS problem particularly given the current realities in our country.

These are exactly the elements that are targeted by and in the new law. With the effective implementation even just of these elements, we can look forward to an improvement in the HIV/AIDS situation in our country.

(To Be Continued)