BAGUIO CITY – Reckitt Benckiser, manufacturer of international condom brand, Durex, touched base with the Summer Capital as part of a nationwide campus education and information campaign to drumbeat an advocacy of health themed “Always Come Prepared.”
Over 1,000 Saint Louis University students took part in a one- day HIV – AIDS prevention program and information campaign, last month aiming reach out to the youth to advocate a safe and healthy lifestyle.
Reckitt Benckiser Senior Brand Manager Karol Canlas said the Baguio campaign is the first to be launched North of Manila which ushers a series of campus visits culminating at the end of the year for the annual AIDS day commemoration.
At the SLU campus visit, experts, Doctor Edrian Geronimo, MD, FPCP, Diplomate-PSMID, Infectious Disease Consultant & Infection Control Practitioner, Doctor Rica Cruz, MA, RPsy, Counseling Psychologist and Sex Therapist and Iosif Cadelina, Program Officer, SafeSpacesPH, SLU National Service Training Program (NSTP) students were briefed on the situation on HIV –AIDS in the country, safe sex and how to protect themselves from the growing worldwide disease.
Geronimo stressed the difference of HIV, the virus which causes infection which weakens the immune system and AIDS, the last stage of the HIV infection.
Geronimo underscored HIV infection can be acquired when having sex without a condom, sharing injecting equipment, contaminated blood transfusions and from a mother to her baby.
HIV myths were also debunked such as acquiring the infection from kissing, hugging, sharing food, insect bites, toilet seats, bathing, sneezing, coughing and sweat.
Cruz, a counseling Psychologist and Sex Therapist acknowledged statistics which point that one in every three Filipino youth engage in pre-marital sex before the age of 15 and mostly unprotected.
In her talk, ‘Let’s Talk About Sex,” Cruz revealed the Philippines has the highest HIV-AIDS growth rate in the Asia Pacific’
“Most of the sexually active Filipino youth think that they will not contract HIV, more alarming, is that our youth has a low level comprehension and knowledge on HIV and other sexually transmitted disease.”
Cruz reminded youth to know how to protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases “We should educate yourselves and be responsible in our relationships, trusting your partner is not enough, we have to have an open communication with each other,” stressing this is key to the success in relationships as well as health matters.
In 2018, the Philippines has been noted to have the increase of HIV-Aids cases in the world.
The Reproductive Health and Wellness Center of the Baguio City Health Department reports since incidences of HIV-Aids hit the country in 1984, Baguio has recorded 302 cases with 18 deaths, with men found to be most susceptible in acquiring HIV-Aids.
The Baguio General Hospital and City Health Department which are the treatment and satellite hubs in the city recorded 28 cases of HIV-Aids in Baguio City, 26 of these are males and two females.
These are coming from the 25-34 age group category which are the working class which is now the new age group having the most number HIV-Aids not only in the city but nationwide.
Cadelina, Program Officer, LoveYourself and SafeSpacesPH closed the day with importance of HIV testing.
“We create ripples of positive change, one free HIV test at a time, we give HIV testing, counseling and treatment.”
Om the spot HIV testing was done on campus for those willing with results to be coordinated with the local health office.
Cadelina said the organization is a community of volunteers aiming to reach out to others to propagate ideas, attitudes, and practices that encourage loving oneself and to prevent the spread of the epidemic among the youth and key affected populations as well as treatment for People Living with HIV.
Durex, number one condom brand worldwide, has embarked on a nationwide campus tour to advocate a safe and healthy lifestyle among the youth and is eyeing more campuses in the city.
The activity was done in coordination with the Baguio City Health Office and the Department of Health Cordillera.