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The National Youth Commission (NYC) asked the help of more than 400 youth leaders from all over the country, who gathered in Puerto Princesa City to attend the 2019 National Young Leaders’ Conference from November 22-26, 2019 in resolving issues involving the Filipino youth.
As the keynote speaker in the opening and cultural night of the conference, National Youth Commission Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ryan R. Enriquez said that the youth now faces many challenges like teenage pregnancy.
According to him, almost 200,000 Filipino teenage girls get pregnant in the Philippines annually.
Enriquez stressed that the NYC alone is incapable to spearhead the monitoring and guiding the youth to become responsible and not do anything that can destroy their future.
He also cited that another worsening problem of the country today is the spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
He hopes that young leaders participating in the conference will help create awareness among the public about this problem. On December 1, 2019, the NYC will be conducting HIV awareness drives in some areas in the country, Enriquez said.
According to the Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau records, there were 1,111 newly confirmed HIV-positive individuals reported to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP) as of July 2019.
This was 29% higher compared with the diagnosed cases in the same period last year that had 859. 199 patients or 18 percent had clinical manifestations of advanced HIV infection and 1,048 or 94 percent of the newly diagnosed were males.
The median age was 28 years old, 51% or 567 were 25-34 years old and 31% or 348 were 15-24 years old at the time of testing.
The top five regions with the most number of newly diagnosed cases for the month were from the National Capital Region, Region 4A with 16%, Region 3 with 12%, Region 7 with 8%, and Region 11 with 5%, 60).
Sexual contact remained as the predominant mode of transmission with 99 percent or 1,099.
Among the newly diagnosed, 63 percent reported transmission through male to male sex, 23 percent through sex with both males and females, and 13 percent were through male to female sex. Other modes of transmission were the sharing of infected needles at 1 percent and mother-to-child transmission. According to the available data, the first case of HIV infection in the Philippines was reported back in 1984.
In response, Jemarjo G. Escalona, 2019 NYLC Director and Puerto Princesa City Local Development Officer said that the conference this year is a program of Global Institute for Youth Development, an NGO that aims go to the grassroots level to be able to feel the real problems and issues of the community.
They will also make it emotional and personal because at the second day of the conference, the participants will sleep in their foster parents in selected barangays in Puerto Princesa, and stay until the morning of the third day to experience the real situation in the area.
After that, the young leaders will make policies based on their experiences in the community, and it will be forwarded to the 16th City Council of Puerto Princesa to become references in pursuing legislation to aid problems involving youth such as teenage pregnancy and rising HIV cases.