Friday, March 12, 2010

28% of young Filipinos think AIDS curable

DepEd, Unicef to use video to fight HIV, AIDS First Posted 09:55:00 03/11/2010

MANILA, Philippines—As many young Filipinos are misinformed about the fatal HIV and the full-blown AIDS, the Department of Education and Unicef have partnered to use a video to fight this ignorance, as well as the rising number of sexually transmitted infections (STI) cases.

The 2003 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey (YAFSS) said that 28 percent of young Filipino adults thought that acquired immuno deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is curable while 73 percent thought that they are immune to human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV).

Recent findings of the Department of Health’s AIDS Registry also revealed that infections among 15- to 24-year-old Filipinos increased five-fold from 41 in 2007 to 218 in 2009. Overall prevalence of pre-marital sexual activity also increased from 18 to 23 percent between 1994 and 2002.

Recognizing children’s right to information at the right time to enable them to lead happy, healthy lives, DepEd and Unicef on Wednesday launched Power of You, an interactive video intended to help young people, particularly high school students, learn about risky behaviors, STI, HIV, and AIDS.

The video follows the story of Francis and Sara, typical teens who face big challenges every day. Being interactive, it allows users to choose the path that their characters will take, through decision points depicting drama and humor of a normal teenager’s life. It carries the message for young people to delay sexual debut and educate themselves and their peers about HIV and STIs.

“Today, young people learn things better if information is presented to them in a novel and exciting way, and Power of You does just that. It is designed to raise awareness on STI and HIV among young people in a fun and interactive light. It motivates them to choose life-saving actions and focuses on the power of individual choice to make their dreams and ambitions come true,” said Unicef Representative Vanessa Tobin at the launch of the video.

According to the Unicef briefer, the campaign will involve the conduct of learning sessions using the interactive video. In a learning session, a trained facilitator will guide high school students in “Choosing the Life” of a teenager.

The main characters in the video will experience significant situations which require critical decisions. The students will be asked to decide the fate of the main character. Each choice will result in a new situation. The facilitator will give appropriate information bits after each decision. The project will be rolled out and implemented by DepEd with assistance from Unicef within the year.

“The Department of Education signifies its commitment to a long-term, sustainable program targeting education and prevention. We are encouraging teachers to integrate programs like Power of You in their school improvement plans and foster an environment of openness wherein young people can talk about the problems that they typically encounter as they go about teenage life,” said DepEd’s Bureau of Secondary Education Director Dr. Lolita Andrada.

The Power of You campaign is initially piloted in 29 public schools in Metro Manila, the cities of Cebu, Davao, Zamboanga, and Olongapo, and Masbate. The campaign aims to reach at least 12,000 high school students in the first year of 2010.

The Philippines is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely signed international treaty safeguarding children’s rights.

Veronica Uy

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