MANILA — Unprotected sex is the leading cause of the transmission of HIV in the country, the Department of Health said Tuesday.
DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire made the remark in response to a recent report wherein 86 adolescents and children were diagnosed with the virus in January.
"Most common cause ng HIV dito sa ating bansa and even around the world is unsafe sex," she said in a press briefing.
"So, kapag sinabi nating unsafe sex, ang ating preventive measure is to always have safe sex."
Using condoms and revealing one's sexual history are ways to prevent HIV, Vergeire noted.
The Philippines has recorded 1,454 new HIV cases in January or an average of 46 cases per day.
Sexual contact is still the most common mode of transmission of HIV, representing 1,431 cases or 98 percent.
There were 6 who acquired HIV through mother-to-child transmission and 3 through sharing of infected needles.
For those who acquired HIV through sexual contact, 998 (70%) were males who reported having sex with another male, 193 (13%) were male-female sex, and 240 (17%) were sex with male and female.
Should you be at risk for getting HIV, Vergeire urged the public to get tested and learn about the treatment options available today.
"Hindi na po death sentence ngayon ang HIV katulad nung araw na iniisip ng mga tao," she said.
"Hindi kayo nagagamot pero 'yung gamot na iniinom niyo po can maintain and sustain your life and you become productive hanggang sa matagal na matagal na panahon."
Aside from lack of awareness and peer pressure, Vergeire said they are also looking at the role of mobile dating apps in influencing risky sexual behaviors.