“The face of HIV is the youth.”
In a press briefing in the Malacañang Tuesday, National Youth Commission chairperson Aiza Seguerra urged to make HIV testing available to minors without parental consent.
It has been observed that the majority of the people infected with HIV are the youth. According to recent statistics, nearly nine out of ten people that frequently acquire the virus are people aged 15-30.
Seguerra said that lowering the testing age would help the government acquire more data and promote safety measures as it was concluded that the spread of the virus is usually through unprotected sexual contact. She also pointed out that given the nature of acquiring the virus, young people would rather stay silent about their current state than seek medication and treatment. This is primarily due to the burden of having to tell their parents about their situation.
Currently, the legal age for testing without consent is 18, according to the law. It was also mentioned that lowering the testing age would also help spread further information about the virus and promote ways to avoid it. This is also one way for the society to develop an open mind towards the nature of the epidemic and create awareness.
The late Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed a bill in 2015 regarding the matter. The Senator contended that the existing law “limits the access of minors to potentially life-saving treatment and care, especially since many young people lack the finances to pay for healthcare”.
The proposal is yet to be forwarded to Congress for legislation.