26 May 2010

Majority Believes DOH's Condom Drive

Condom Distribution
In yet another disagreement with some Catholic leaders, 72 percent of Filipinos believe that the Department of Health’s promotion of correct and consistent use of condom for the prevention of HIV and AIDS is beneficial for the country.

In a press conference held early in May 2010, SWS president Dr. Mahar Mangahas, presented to media the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) findings on the perception of the Filipino people on HIV and AIDS. Conducted nationwide from 16 to 19 April 2010, the same survey also reveals that majority of Filipinos (67 percent) agree with the Department of Health's earlier pronouncements that HIV and AIDS cases in the Philippines are on the rise.

"This survey only shows that Filipinos still trust the Department of Health on matters related to public health," says Ben de Leon, president of The Forum for Family Planning and Development Inc.

DOH Secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral courted the ire of the Catholic Church when she launched an all-out campaign to address the rising cases of HIV in the Philippines. Her campaign included a more aggressive awareness raising and condom distribution. While certain leaders of the Catholic Church called for her resignation, various civil society organizations (CSOs) rallied behind her.

"We wanted to show proof that the Filipino people are behind the DOH and Sec. Cabral, that's why we commissioned this survey," de Leon explains.

According to the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) and the DOH, cases of HIV cases in the Philippines have reached alarming proportions with two new cases being reported each day or 60 new cases per month.