The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) VII regional office in Central Visayas will sway smoothly with the millennials into February’s embrace with its H.E.A.R.T. to H.E.A.R.T. launch on Valentine’s Day 2020.   This is an orientation and education advocacy campaign to create awareness on the growing number of teenage pregnancies, repeated teen pregnancies and alarming increase of HIV, AIDS and STI cases among young people in Central Visayas and the Philippines.  The essence of the campaign is to correct the misconception and misinformation of young people about certain topics such as sexual intercourse, as they usually get the information from peers.

H.E.A.R.T. to H.E.A.R.T. was developed as an advocacy module by POPCOM VII Population Representative Carl Dave Ang in 2017 with the support of Regional Director Atty. Bruce N. Ragas, Asst. RD Darlyn Remolino and Technical Team Head Myrna Alaba.  H.E.A.R.T. stands for HIV, AIDS, and sexually-transmitted infection (STI); early sexual encounters; adolescent sexuality; reproductive health; and teenage pregnancy.  The H.E.A.R.T. to H.E.A.R.T. advocacy campaign reached an average of 20,000 audiences each year since it was launched in 2017 on Valentine’s Day.  POPCOM VII intends to influence and educate the adolescents of this generation to be aware of the possible consequences of early sexual encounters.

Based on the latest Young Adult Fertility Study 4 (YAFS), seventeen (17) is the average age of sexual encounter in Region VII for both male and female.  Most of these encounters happen at home while parents are away.  Some of YAFS’ papers also cited the strong relationship of Internet access and early sexual encounter among the youth.  Another study from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) alarmingly showed that beginning 2011 in a span of 5 years, there were already 190 cases of teenage pregnancies among 9-year olds; and that a 10-year old gets pregnant every week.  

From the latest report of the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP) in August 2019, there were 1,228 newly confirmed HIV-positive individuals and 95% were male.  The median age was 27 years old from an age range: of 1-72.  Almost half of the cases or 47% were 25-34 years old and 35% were 15-24 years old.  Region VII accounts for 8% of newly diagnosed cases, the 4th in the Philippines while NCR is 1st with 34%.  Sexual contact remained as predominant mode of transmission accounting for 98%. 

The first case of HIV infection in the Philippines was reported in 1984.  Since then, there have been 70,740 confirmed HIV cases reported to the HARP in the country.  Tremendous rise of reporting surged from 2008 onwards with the greatest number of reported cases in 2017 to 2019.  In the early years of the epidemic (1984-1990), 62% of those diagnosed were female. However, since 1991 the proportion of diagnosed males has been greater at 94%.  The predominant age group among those diagnosed has shifted to 25-34 years old starting 2006 from 35-49 years old in 2001 to 2005.  Further, the proportion of HIV positive cases in the 15-24 year age group nearly doubled in the past ten years, from 17% in 2000 to 2009 to 29% in 2010 to 2019 and 97% were infected through sexual contact (male-female sex, male-male sex, sex with both males & females).   In August 2019, there were 69 newly diagnosed adolescents (10-19 years old) at the time of diagnosis.  Of these, two cases were 10-14 years old, 18 were 15-17 years old, and 49 were 18-19 years old.  Almost all were infected through sexual contact. 

The UNAIDS from its HIV and AIDS Data Hub for Asia Pacific Evidence to Action has stated concerns that the Philippines has become the country with the fastest growing HIV epidemic in Asia and the Pacific, and one of eight countries that account for more than 85% of new HIV infections in the region.  These are indicative of the need to step up HIV information efforts in eliciting behavioral change among people at risk of infection, especially the youth.




Press Release No.  3-2020

February 3, 2020

Contact Person: Maria Lourdes A. Garillos
Information Officer II- IMCU
Tel.No. 236-4963
Email Add: maloualorro@yahoo.com    Mobile No.: 09075005381 
Website: http://rpo7.popcom.gov.ph/  

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