Behavioral change key to HIV prevention, Church official says

Behavioral change key to HIV prevention, Church official says

Fr. Dan Cancino, Executive Secretary of the bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Health Care. PHOTO COURTESY OF CBCP-ECHC

MANILA— Strong push for condom use is failing to stop the spread of HIV because users end up having more sex, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said.

Fr. Dan Cancino, executive secretary of the CBCP Commission on Health Care, said that discipline and behavior change are still the key instruments that can help defeat the spread of the disease.

“As we can see, the number of HIV cases is still rising. You distribute condoms and yet the numbers are still on the rise,” Cancino told Radio Veritas.

“Maybe we should reconsider this matter as being the solution to the HIV menace. It appears that the goal of the intervention is far from the results,” he said.

He said the continued rise in HIV cases despite aggressive promotion of condom use means prevention through behavior change is the most important strategy available to reduce new infections.

This could be done, according to him, through proper education, awareness based on Gospel values, strengthening family ties, and having respect for life.

“These are the real keys in solving this HIV pandemic,” Cancino added.

The Department of Health (DOH) has recently reported a ballooning number of HIV patients in the country, with a total of 11,104 new cases in 2017.

The agency said most of these cases were due to paid sex.

This is higher than 9,264 new HIV cases reported in 2016; 7,831 in 2015; 6,011 in 2014; 4,814 in 2013; and 3,338 in 2012. CBCPNews