"Just this week here at FPOP, we diagnosed 4 in 4 days. Only one was a 43-year-old and two of the 15-24 are already manifesting opportunistic infections – pneumonia and tuberculosis,” he said.
This is why HIV advocates in the country have shifted their resources and focus to the youth. We see that week after week," Figuracion, who works at the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) office in Iloilo City, said.
“Because you know the discrimination, the stigma, the restrictions in terms of working environment, especially at sea.”He took the test without fear or worry – “I am not that aggressive in terms of sex, it was only my second time" – but did so out of convenience.
There was no doubt in his mind about his status, even when his friend got a sealed envelope and he got nothing. Or when he was called to come inside, unlike those who came before him.
Neither did he know that he, a sexually active millennial, was highly susceptible to contracting the virus.
Jake’s case is common in a disturbing way: he is part of the age group that is seeing the largest increase in HIV infections. Young, sexually active millennials are seeing a rise in HIV infections across the world, a trend that does not spare the Philippines.
“I don’t think that he knows." There is no telling how many other youth in the Philippines are unaware they are living with HIV and having sex – unknowingly infecting others. around 62% of the estimated newly-infected are coming from the 15-24 age group, which means the Philippines is diagnosing only around 23%-50% of that 15-24 group.