THE announced plan by the Department of Health (DoH) to distribute condoms in schools during the recently-concluded World AIDS Day 2016 supposedly to address a reported spike in the number of teenagers getting the HIV/AIDS is downright silly.
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, however, seems bent on the idea, saying the distribution will begin as soon as they ‘thresh out the strategy with the Department of Education (DepEd)’ and after proper counseling has been provided to the students.
The DoH has all the reasons to be alarmed. Reports have it that from 1984 to October 2016, a total of 38,114 HIV cases were recorded and that of the number, 32,099 were tallied from 2011 to 2016. During the said period, there were 10,279 HIV cases recorded among those aged 15 to 24. From this number, a total of 9,066 were tallied since 2011.
While we all know that given the situation of kids these days when it comes to ‘sexual awakening,’ the DOH is right on track in urging parents to teach their children about safe sex.
Giving out condoms in schools is not the ultimate solution to the problem of rising HIV and AIDS cases.
The head of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care of the Catholic Bishops Conference urged the youth to do their part in educating the public on the occasion of the World AIDS Day but, of course, it is not advocating condom distribution.
A Western Journal of Medicine writeup titled, ‘Making condoms available in schools’ stated that there are three main controversial approaches to reducing rates of sexually-transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy among North American teenagers: abstinence-only programs, safer sex education and making condoms available in schools.
The article read: “Which of these is effective? The American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Scientific Affairs recently concluded that “there are no published studies that measure behavioral effects of the ‘abstinence-only’ curricula,” that “evaluations of safer-sex sexuality education show inconsistent but promising results,” and that programs that make condoms available in schools “usually demonstrate increased condom use.”
“United States Representative Tom Coburn attacked that conclusion, claiming that the distribution of school condoms conflicts with “common sense” and increases condom use but does not necessarily lead to lower rates of either pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
“The financial costs are small, but the social or political costs may be large. For religious or moral reasons, some people may strongly oppose making condoms available in schools, and both their beliefs and the community conflicts that might ensue should be properly considered,” the article further stated.
Indeed, making condoms readily available to kids who are at that stage in their lives when they are most curious about and hungry for all sorts of information and new experiences will, as aptly stated, expectedly result in increased condom use and naturally, increased sexual activities. Imagine, if you are an ordinary teenaged boy who’s never had sex before. And then suddenly, you get access to condoms -- and for free! What are you gonna do? You will of course keep that condom stashed somewhere -- could be in your wallet or drawer. While some may do just that, there is no doubt that some would have aroused curiosity about its use and will most likely try using it.
Couple this with the easy access to various kinds of sexual materials, given today’s technology and you have the perfect formula for a possible surge in unwanted teenage pregnancies.
By the way, have parents been consulted about this move?
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