Priest alarmed by HIV ‘youth epidemic’

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MANILA, Dec. 2, 2016— As the country witnesses a rising number of HIV/AIDS infections among the youth, a Catholic priest said it’s time to redouble efforts to raise awareness and prevent the spread of the virus.

Official figures showed that from 1984 to 2016, about 10,279 of the total number of HIV/AIDS cases were in the 15-24 years-old range.

But records also revealed that of the total number of youth cases of 9,066 was reported only in the last five years, prompting the government to tag it a “youth epidemic.”

Fr. Dan Cancino, executive secretary of the bishops’ Commission on Health Care, said necessary actions should be taken to reduce them in future data, noting it is “a cause for alarm.”

“This is a day for us to increase our knowledge, awareness, consciousness [about HIV/AIDS], especially because of the youth affected now by this global problem of HIV and AIDS,” Cancino told Manila archdiocese-run Radio Veritas on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1 in Filipino.

The priest said the lack of adequate information as well as the prevalence of pre-marital sexual activities among the youth are among the main reasons of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

“Most of those affected are our youth. Cases are rising among the 15 to 24-year olds. So they are the future of our country, our high school and college students,” explained the priest.

In an effort to  further raise public awareness, the Church is calling on young people to join the celebration of National Catholic AIDS Sunday on Dec. 4.

The activities include the HIV Awareness Conference that will be held at the Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord located in SM Mega mall in Mandaluyong City. (CBCPNews) 

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