NYC launches anti-HIV campaign on Valentine’s Day

MANILA-- Alarmed by the increasing number of youth infected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the National Youth Commission (NYC) officially launched on Tuesday its anti-HIV campaign dubbed as "Virus Ends With Us".

"You will notice that we did this (official launching) on Valentine's Day because we want to promote awareness against HIV," NYC chairperson Aiza Seguerra said during the official kickoff of the program at the Palace press briefing.

The Department of Health's 2015 Integrated HIV Behavioral and Serologic Surveillance (IHBSS 2015) showed that 62 percent of estimated new HIV infections come from Filipinos aged 15 to 24 years old.

"Expanding the age according to the definition of youth in the Philippines, 15 to 30 years old, increases the estimate to 85 percent of all new HIV infections coming from young people," she said.

The former child star revealed that 24 young Filipinos got infected by HIV every day.

"The NYC partnered with Department of Education and Department of Health because big percentage of those infected with HIV are youth. We want to bring these numbers down," Seguerra said.

Under the NYC's anti-HIV campaign, Seguerra said the commission will conduct nationwide "Usap Tayo" caravan which seeks to address the lack of communication and information between parents and children about sex, drugs, HIV, mental health and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender).

"Through 'Usap Tayo', the parents and educators will be taught how to approach the subject and talk to the young people about it," she said.

Seguerra said experts from Train Station, Inc. will empower and enable the communication between parents and children.

"If we can encourage one child to speak, to open up; if we can influence one parent to listen first before reacting; to understand instead of being angry, that's our goal," Seguerra said.

She said another portion of the campaign is to correct the misconceptions about HIV.

"This is why we asked the help of our celebrities who are inspiring and passionate advocates against HIV to debunk myths about it. Correct knowledge on HVI is very low among young Filipinos," Seguerra said.

"Through the integrated efforts of advocates, celebrities and people living with HIV, we are able to help educate and encourage the people to make HIV testing a universal practice," she added.

She said the anti-HIV awareness program of the government also drew big support from the youth sector.

Seguerra said many young Filipinos age as early as 10-years old engage in early sex due to pornographic materials and videos that can be easily accessed through internet.

"We all know this (early sexual encounter) has been happening before. Perhaps, what happening now is the lack of information. It is important to give them the right information," she said.

Since most of the youth are still in school, the NYC head implored the public and private school teachers to help them in the campaign.

Seguerra also appealed to the youth to be responsible and make intelligent decisions when they are tempted to do something that would risk their lives.

"You are the youth; yes, you want to live life to the fullest; but please also be responsible. Make intelligent decisions," she appealed. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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