Link Between Smart Phone Apps and Rise in HIV Cases?

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 7:00 PM
I already have discussed this in my previous blog entries and since this news barely came out in one of the leading newspapers in the country, I would like to make my own comment about this.

Ever since the social networking sites have sprouted in the internet, in our computers and smart phones, people tend to believe that the linkage between the increase of HIV cases in the Philippines and these social media sites are very strong. Is it because of the accessibility to communicate, and the access to easily meet up with other people, and or have sex lead to the rise in the cases? If this is the case, then how come only 9 countries which include the Philippines have this trending rise when in fact these phone apps and social media sites are internationally widespread? Are we the kind of people that  belong to one of those countries who are all so sexually active that we just disregard protection and transmission of an incurable disease just to get sexual pleasure?

I still believe that education is a key element in this and not the fault of these sites. However, like what I mentioned in my previous blog posts, the problem in the country is that up to now, most people don't see the real score about HIV because only a few people living with HIV (PLHIV) have ever come out in the open. In my opinion, in our country, HIV is still a "myth", a "propaganda". People are not scared and don't believe that they will contract the virus easily. The numbers that the DOH are releasing everyone seemed to be just numbers and not given human emphasis. Up to now, even educated people, even people who are working in the medical fields are getting it. Are they not informed? I don't think so. I think most still don't believe that HIV really exists.

I strongly believe that putting a face to a disease gives it an identity, to which people can really relate to. Cancer for one is something that we totally believe in. We really avoid MSG and other carcinogens because we believe that they can cause cancer. We try to avoid getting X-ray all the time because of the fear of getting the disease. Women most often get mammograms to avoid breast cancer. Why? Because we often hear painful stories of cancer victims, we see them all around: on national TV, in newspapers, in movies. We feel their struggles. We know how people with cancer look like especially during treatment.

In the case of HIV, especially in the Philippines, only a few stories are read and a handful of people who came out are in silhouette. How can we feel what they are feeling? How can people be scared of a virus that they really can't see especially coming from the faces of those who are suffering from it?

A lot of things need to be answered. Why PLHIV's don't come out? Why is there a strong stigma to HIV up to now? These questions need to be addressed and addressed immediately. Our government and NGO's are doing a lot, by educating people but even they educated ones, the professionals are not paying attention. I know this for a fact as I have been an online counselor for almost 2 years now and I have been advising people from all walks of life, mostly professionals, skilled workers, OFW's, even doctors and nurses who have recently contracted HIV. We need solutions now and more studies on why the cases of HIV in the country is still on the rise. We need facts and not assumptions!

Going back to the article, I know that ONLY unprotected sexual activity, sharing of needles, etc, can be linked strongly to HIV. Period. Not the sites, not any casual meet ups and any communications as encouraged by these apps and social networking sites. If we all think otherwise and just blame it on those sites, smart phones, then what kind of mentality do we have right now. We need to address the problem, and I mean the EXACT problem.