Accessibility to social media could be one of the factors for the increase in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases among adolescents and teenagers in the Philippines, a health official said Tuesday.
The Department of Health’s (DOH) latest data registry showed 79 new cases among 10 to 19 years old and seven new cases among children below 9 years old in January.
“We have noticed among young individuals (that) … they already have social media applications where they can meet and chat, and they’re using this for engagements and illicit behavior),” said DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire during a media briefing.
Vergeire reminded adolescents and teenagers that such behavior could lead to diseases. She also urged parents to educate their children about the risks of such behavior.
“If you think you had risky behavior, the treatment and test for HIV is free. You just need to go to your local governments,” Vergeire said.
Acquiring HIV is no longer a “death sentence” as medicines that can prolong the patient’s life are already available, she added.
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