San Fernando City, La Union—The Commission on Population celebrates Valentine’s Day with a Heart to H.E.A.R.T campaign for the whole month of February. This intends to share relevant updates and awareness about the prevailing issues that confront the young people today.
The H.E.A.R.T campaign stands for:
E—Early Sexual Encounter
In December 2016, the HIV and AIDS Registry of the Philippines (HARP) of the Department of Health reported that there were 750 new HIV antibody sero-positive individuals. Most of these cases are among males who belong to the 25-34 year age group while 29% were youth (15-25 y/o) from the recorded cases of 9, 264 including deaths.
Likewise, the recent Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS 4) revealed that teenage pregnancy has tripled over the decades. 13.7 percent of females 15-19 year-old have begun childbearing—more than half of increase from 2002 (6.2 percent).
It was also found out that the average age of first sexual encounter in the country is 17 years old for both males and females. Most of these encounters happened at home when parents are away. Other factors for early indulgence in sex include: exposure to internet, relationships formed via social media accounts, lack of sufficient and comprehensive information on sex and fertility and strong peer influence.
In region 1, the early sex experiences were among young people with low educational attainment and in the lowest quintile before age 18. Adolescent birth rate is highest in the province of Ilocos Sur with 16.62 percent followed by Pangasinan with 12.41, La Union with 9.51 and Ilocos Norte with 8.60 in 2016 against the national/regional target of <4%.
The Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which was issued by the Supreme Court in 2015 on the re/certification of modern family planning contraceptives hampers the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law that results to more number of unplanned pregnancies and its complications, including the spread of HIV/AIDS.
POPCOM Region 1 upholds the significant contributions of the youth in nation building. Thus, the agency continuously pursues to inform, educate and gear up the youth to become better and healthy individuals.