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Behavior change, not condoms, key to HIV-AIDS prevention

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MANILA, Nov. 24, 2012—No amount of condom can prevent the spread of AIDS unless a person adopts a responsible sexual behavior.

This is how an AIDS specialist and esteemed physician expressed his concern for the Filipino people after a government official shared the findings of another study conducted by the United Nations Programme on HIV/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (UNAIDS), which pointed to condoms as AIDS-fighting ammunition.

UN agencies consistently insist on the use of artificial contraceptives, including condoms, as part of responsible sexual behavior, and call access to these by the youth – regardless of marital status – and children as a “sexual right.”

“While AIDS is incurable, it is a ‘behavioral disease.’ No matter how many condoms you wear, it’s never a guarantee of protection,” warned Rene Bullecer, M.D., who heads the private organization AIDS-Free Philippines and who has been entrenched in the AIDS prevention campaign for 20 years now.

Department of Health (DOH) Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag, in a forum at the House of Representatives Tuesday, announced that the Philippines is one of nine countries that have failed to keep the spread of HIV at bay, based on the UN study.

Bullecer, however, blasted this claim. “I have been in the anti-AIDS campaign since 1992, and I can tell everybody and look them straight in the eye that these so-called ‘anti-AIDS pro-condom advocates’ are not happy that after 28 years, the Philippines has only cumulative cases of less than 12,000,” the doctor said.

He added that non-government groups working “under the shadow of the DOH” have been, for nearly two decades now, receiving “millions in funds from condom advocates. Thus, in return, they have to promote their products.”

Bullecer, who also heads Human Life International (HLI)-Pilipinas, pointed out that such advocates – most of whom aren’t doctors – either fail to see or refuse to acknowledge the fact that countries in which prophylactics are openly promoted and vigorously encouraged experience sky-rocketing cases of HIV and AIDS.

“Just take a look at Thailand, the very country also in Asia that adopted an RH law as early as 1995. Just check their current Population Growth Rate and AIDS cases. You will be shocked,” the AIDS expert said.

Tayag pegged the number of new HIV cases per day this year at nine, amounting to over 21,000 persons in the Philippines living with HIV – again prompting reports in the mainstream media to refer to the situation as an “epidemic.” The discrepancy in figures does not surprise Bullecer.

“It’s either the UNAIDS telling us that we are on the brink of an AIDS epidemic, thus we need to pass the RH and the Anti-discrimination bills… or, it’s us convincing the UNAIDS and its partner funding agencies like the USAID, Rockefeller Foundation, EU etc. that we need money by sometimes blowing up the number of AIDS cases to justify the ‘need’ for funds to be delivered to our shores,” Bullecer explained, chiding those involved for the easily anticipated approach they take as regards marketing the idea of contraceptives as a need in the Philippine scenario.

As expected, too, in the forum held at the Lower House in which Tayag announced the alleged increase of HIV rates to epidemic proportions, the DOH Assistant Secretary segued into a push for the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill, implying it is necessary due to the HIV-AIDS problem and for the sex education component of the measure.

“Of course, we know that both the DOH and the pro-condom NGOs have one common agenda: to pass the RH bill, which means millions more in funds for condoms and eliminating all forms of discrimination especially among active homosexuals (now called ‘MSM’ or men who have sex with other men), to allow the continuous flow of condoms, and – consequently – more and more cases of HIV and AIDS, and thereby more and more funds coming in. Very simple mathematics for every business-minded individual,” Bullecer said.

International speaker Chris Stefanick, who was in the Philippines in August to speak with thousands of youth about relationships, dating and chastity, pointed out as well that nations where condom use is heavily marketed experience a boom in the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases.

“In 1984 was the AIDS breakout in the Philippines and in Thailand at the same time. The response in the Philippines was to promote abstinence; the response of Thailand was to promote condoms. Twenty years later, the rate of AIDS infection in Thailand was 50 times higher than in the Philippines,” Stefanick said.

The introduction of individual amendments to the RH bill has started in the Senate, while House Bill 4244 has yet to be taken up in the Lower House after the period of interpellations, due mainly to the lack of quorum during plenary sessions. (CBCP for Life)

 


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