Quezon City launches youth-centric HIV programme
Aiming to strengthen its advocacy on HIV education, the local government of Quezon City (QC) launched its HIV Programme for Young Key Population (YKP) on February 27, 2017. Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI), a long-time partner of the local government in combatting HIV, was present in the launch.
As part of its HIV Programme for YKP, the local government came up with a printed handbook on HIV, AIDS, and STI, and an HIV 101 video; these are currently being rolled out in all 46 public high schools in the city for A.Y. 2017-2018, benefitting more than 35,000 Grade 8 students.
The handbook, which contains useful guidelines on HIV prevention and information on access to HIV services, is a product of the City Health Department’s coordination with the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health (DOH) and with key stakeholders such as PSFI. The video, on the other hand, was produced with funding support from PSFI and contains basic HIV information. These materials will be used as additional references for the schools’ HIV education class, which is already part of the Music, Arts, Physical Education, and Health (MAPEH) curriculum for Grade 8 students. While the initial investment is focused on making the material available for all Grade 8 students, the local government expressed its enthusiasm in bringing it to higher levels in the near future.
QC Mayor Herbert Bautista spearheaded the HIV Programme for YKP as part of his plans to fast track HIV response in the National Capital Region (NCR) and his commitment to support the global initiative aiming to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
During the launch, Mayor Bautista shared some data on HIV cases. Last year, 26 Filipinos were diagnosed with HIV every day compared to only 4 cases in 2010. In NCR, 10 cases of HIV were recorded per day; 2 of which were from QC. The HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP) of DOH also reflects an increase in the number of people aged 15-20 yrs. old diagnosed with HIV. More than 10,000 cases of HIV were reported among 15-24 yrs. old from January 1984 to December 2016. According to Mayor Bautista, “We have to acknowledge that some of our adolescents or young people are into risky sexual behaviour, and this has been proven in various surveys.” Talking about the YKP programme, he said, “This is one of our biggest investments so far in the history of HIV response in the city. It shows our seriousness and commitment to address the problem. With this advocacy, we’d like to engage all parents and teachers, as well as communities, to support this government initiative. This is for the future of our youth and our country.”
Through the HIV Programme for YKP in QC and PSFI’s Philippine Business Sector Response to HIV/AIDS, we are hoping more Filipinos will take proper measures to stop the spread of the epidemic.
By Rachael Nathanielsz
Article published on PSFI news magazine October 2017 issue
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