By John Alliage Tinio Morales
MANILA–The Department of Health warned Friday that a dreaded HIV/AIDS epidemic is “looming.”
Eric Tayag of the DOH National Epidemiology Center said that the health department found a distressing trend in the past 20 years where about 15 percent of HIV/AIDS cases were recorded just last year.
“Umaasa kami na tataas pa. Meron tayong lumalaganap na epidemya,” said Tayag.
Tayag said that as of December 2009, the DOH confirmed 126 Filipinos have HIV/AIDS. In the past 25 years, the total number of victims reached to 835.
“Nag-fofocus po tayo sa Kalakhang Manila, Kalakhang Cebu at Davao City,” he said.
Tayag explained that there are three ways of transmitting the virus including unprotected sex, mother-to-child transmission and unsanitary use of syringe needles.
He said that the DOH recorded 49 cases of mothers who have transmitted the virus to their babies.
Meanwhile, the health department recorded a decrease in the number of overseas Filipino workers who have the AIDS virus.
“Bumababa na sa nakalipas na tatlong taon. “Twenty percent ay mga OFW hindi katulad dati na hanggat kalahati ang naiuulat,” Tayag noted.
Asked by dzXL radio whether the use of condoms is the safest way to prevent the epidemic, Tayag said: “Unang-una, abstinence. Nakatala na kami na may pitong-taon pa lang nag-umpisa na magtalik. Sana kung ma-dedelay po iyon. Pangalawa, maging faithful or monogamous.”
Most cases of HIV/AIDS were found in age brackets between 25-29 and 20-24. “The increase is attributed to the group ‘men having sex with men,’” Tayag said.
Meanwhile, Bishop Oscar Cruz told the public to stay away from carnalmatters. “Hinay-hinay po tayo. Ang ating pangaral ay ‘wag kang magnais kung hindi mo asawa. Sa kabataan, kanilang pagyamanin ang kanilang kabataan. Hindi nila gagawain ang mga kilos ng mga may gulang.”
Oscar asked the youth to just stay young. “Let enjoy their youth instead of engaging in carnal matters,” he said.