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AMID ALARMING SPREAD OF HIV

Only 1 out of 10 sexually active Filipinos uses protection–survey

/ 05:36 AM September 28, 2019

Only 1 in 10 sexually active Filipinos consistently uses contraceptives to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or prevent pregnancy, according to a recent survey by a health care company.

Results of the 2nd PhilCare Wellness Index showed that of 820 respondents nationwide who described themselves as sexually active, only 13.23 percent said they had always used protection during sex to avoid getting STDs as well as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

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Similarly, 12.84 percent said they had consistently used contraceptives—either pills or condoms—to prevent unplanned pregnancies.

The survey conducted by Philcare interviewed 1,350 respondents age 18 to 82, and had a margin of error of  plus or minus 3 percent.

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In a statement, lead researcher Fernando Paragas said the survey also showed that women were more likely to use contraceptives than men. Nearly 50 percent, or 48.75 percent, of the women interviewed said they used protection to avoid STDs, while 36.16 percent said they did so to avoid pregnancy.

Frequency of contraceptive use among men was at 36.52 percent among those doing so to protect themselves from STDs, and 30.65 percent among those who didn’t want their partners to get pregnant.

Millennials

Among age groups, millennials or those between 18 to 30 years old had the highest rate of consistent contraceptive use—17.56 percent—to avoid STDs. Almost 16 percent, or 15.69 percent, of the respondents in this age group said they did so to prevent pregnancies.

Fifty percent of the millennial respondents said they used protection “very frequently” to avoid STDs, while 39.22 percent said they did it to avoid unplanned pregnancies.

The survey also revealed that only two out of 10 young adults—or persons age 18 to 30—always used protection.

Over half of young adults used protection “very frequently” against STDs, while almost 40 percent did so to avoid pregnancy.

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Contraceptive use was lowest among those age 41 to 50.   Only 10.71 percent used protection against STDs, while 7.09 percent, against unwanted births.

The study did not cite the reasons behind the respondents’ reluctance to use contraception, as it only tracked usage among the population.

But Paragas said the data might provide “relevant information to find solutions” to such problems as the alarming spread of HIV in the country.

Over 6K new HIV cases

Data from the Department of Health’s Epidemiology Bureau showed that as of June, 6,372 new HIV cases have been reported, a 12-percent increase from last year’s 5,673 cases.

Of the new HIV cases this year, half involved persons age 25 to 34.

Sex remained the main mode of HIV transmission, with 59 percent of those newly diagnosed in June acquiring it through male to male sexual encounters.

A 2016 report by the international rights group Human Rights Watch indicated that poor government policy when it comes to condom use has contributed to the steep rise in HIV cases in recent years.

The report, titled “Fueling the Philippines’ HIV Epidemic: Government Barriers to Condom Use by Men Who Have Sex with Men,” also cited the stigma and censure suffered by members of the gay community when they purchase condoms.

The promotion of condom use has also been limited by fears of offending the sensibilities of religious groups, the report added. —JOVIC YEE

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TAGS: AIDS, Condom, contraceptives, HIV, PhilCare Wellness Index, protected sex
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