Attack on Condom Distribution is an Attack on HIV Prevention

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 10:57 AM

Recently, after the push of the Department of Health to promote and distribute condoms in schools nationwide and after the temporary restraining order against this program, the national HIV program has bumped once again to one of the biggest obstacles to HIV Prevention. Condom and water-based lubricant promotion and education are the pillars of HIV prevention world wide. It is part of the ABCDE methods of preventing HIV which the Department of Health has been disseminating in all its information, education and campaign materials. 

Education Vs. Direct Intervention

Project Red Ribbon in its 6 years of existence has been seeing the challenges and obstacles facing the national HIV Program. During the course of the Foundation's evolution, in every meeting when HIV education is being brought up to call the attention of the Department of Education, the Department of Education would always stress the lacking of curriculum and lack of educators to push for strong awareness about HIV and AIDS in the country. Almost all pioneers of the HIV program here in the country would say that this is the struggle with the Department of Education as it has been lacking political will to ensure a stronger awareness and education platform be put in schools and colleges nationwide. With the increasing number of cases among the youth from ages 15 years old to 24 years years, the age off high school, college and early working class, there really is a must to strengthen the HIV awareness programs including the promotion of the use of condoms and water-based lubricants to stop the spread of HIV. 

Putting the blame once again to the Department of Health for its lack of initiative to educate people about HIV and AIDS instead of forcing the Department of Education. to do its part. What else can the Department of Health do to counter this epidemic when it is only relying on its menial manpowered HIV Program and the different HIV and AIDS Organizations in the country. With the number of cases of HIV rising and the budget for awareness and treatment is almost at its threshold, the Department of Health has to rush with its programs of condoms and lubricant program from the Global Fund and promote early HIV testing and early treatment for prevention.

Running a Vehicle Without Gas

How can the Department of Health promote HIV awareness with the equipment to do it? How can the    responsibilities of education be pushed to the Department of Health when the burden is getting bigger and bigger without the armament of the Department ion Education from which the population of the youth are? How can the Department of Health promote its ABCDE Prevention Program (A-Abstinence, B- Be Faithful, C0- Correct and consistent condom use, D- Do not use drugs, E 0- Education) when two of its greatest prevention methods that the Department ion health is not there of is not effective?

Education is important in stopping the epidemic. Without this in the educational system, without the political will to have a curriculum and aggressive education campaigns in schools will lead to continued rise of HIV in the country. Expect more deaths and increased and uncontrolled prevalence rates of HIV in the country which will eventually eat up the budget of the Department of Health. 

Condom and water-based lubricant distribution as a means of harm reduction is not promoting sex or promiscuity per se but for people to understand the use of it. A lot of people are not using them because of the stigma attached to the use of them. But if people are so used to it, then people eventually will know its use and not be embarrassed to use it. Why deprive them this direct education to counter the rise of HIv in the country? Why remove a program of the Department of Health to stop a health risk that may eventually costing the lives of the youth? 

Why Do We Care?

Project Red Ribbon should not be venturing to prevention in the first place. But Prevention is a Care Program too. With  a strong prevention program, the Foundation won't be addressing all the problems of the people living with HIV from stigma and discrimination, to the health care delivery system of the country, to employment concerns, to evicted youth looking for shelter, from the lack of blood for HIv clients and basic human rights. However, with this set back, once again, a set back which could turn to deadly aftermaths, the Foundation is once again very concerned of the HIV situation in the country.

The country is still one of the few countries in the world with increasing cases of HIV and AIDS. When will we learn? When can we finally say, enough is enough and let us now save lives?


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