GOVERNMENT CENTER, PALO, Leyte- There will be no condom distribution in any school here in the region.
This was assured by a health official saying that there is no reason- as of now- for Eastern Visayas to be included among areas in the country where condom would be distributed in high schools.
“Eastern Visayas is not among the regions identified by the Department of Health where condoms will be distributed in schools,”Boyd Cerro, regional chief of the epidemiology and surveillance unit, said.
Cerro said that the planned condom distributions in schools will only be done in regions where cases of HIV-AIDS are high just like those in the National Capital Region.
And in the case of Eastern Visayas, its HIV-AIDS cases only account “less than 1 percent of the total cases of the country.”
The planned distribution of condoms by the DOH is part of its effort to address the growing HIV-AIDS cases of the country.
However, the Church has expressed its opposition to the plan saying it could encourage the youth, in particular, to engage in premarital sex.
Cerro said that since the department started tracking down the HIV-AIDS cases in the country in 1984, Eastern Visayas has only 370 such cases.
But the health official admitted that the HIV-AIDS cases in the region are increasing.
Last year, 84 individuals were detected to have acquired the disease transmitted mainly due to sex.
“But the (84 cases) were the only ones that we in the department have monitored. The number could be higher considering that there are those who did not report to our office,” Cerro said.
Last year, about six individuals died due to the complications caused by the virus.
The last to have died due to the disease was in December.
In 2015, there were about 89 cases with eight deaths.
Cerro said that the rise of HIV-AIDS in the region was traced to “risky sexual behavior” of those who acquired the disease.
Risky sexual behavior refers to having multiple sex partners and without using protection like condom.
“But what is saddening is those who acquired it were still young or from 15 to 24 years old,” he said.
Cerro advised those who engage in risky sexual activities to stop it if they could do it. Otherwise, he suggested for them to use condom or abstain from engaging in sex.