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DOH hopeful to come out with 'needed guidelines' on condom distribution

MANILA, Dec. 17 (PNA) -- Department of Health (DOH) officials on Saturday said they are hopeful that they can come out with the necessary guidelines on the planned distribution of condoms in public schools.

Dr. Eric Tayag, DOH spokesperson, said they will be discussing with the Department of Education (DepEd) regarding the plan to distribute the condoms among the students, particularly to those who are at risk of acquiring Human Immuno Virus (HIV) infection.

"Watch out for that to happen, perhaps before the year ends," Dr. Tayag said.

The DOH earlier announced of its plan to include school and communities in the control and prevention of HIV, especially among the young population, as a ‘new approach’ will added to the traditional solutions done in the past.

The proposal was made as DOH Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial who said there is a need to think outside the box or explore other strategies.

This was earlier supported by the National Youth Commission (NYC) because of the high incidence of HIV among the young population.

DepEd also came out with a statement citing the need to study first whether this move to arrest the epidemic is appropriate to cover schools and learning institutions.

In the statement released last December 7, DepEd expressed its desire to discuss also what are other measures that can be explored without compromising, first, the parents’ right and responsibility to educate their children against the dangers of engaging in pre-marital sex, and second, the State’s mandate to protect minors from any form of abuse.

DepEd also wants to look into how and why, despite progressive mindset in other countries, this approach is not implemented by all.

Meanwhile, DOH earlier clarified that distribution of condoms will not be like candies that will be distributed left and right to anyone.

The agency explained that prior to distribution, training modules will actually be made available first to teachers so that they can be comfortable in providing their students the information on sexuality, problem of teenage pregnancy, ways of taking care their body, valuing themselves, the young people's role in society and in nation building, difference of love and infatuation, saying no to pre-marital sex etc.

Aside from that, the agency also clarified that only those who made admission that they are engaging in risky behaviors will be distributed with condoms and only the school authorities such as doctors/nurses will be allowed to provide them discreetly.

The agency also said that the idea of distributing condoms should also not be taken as “signal” to freely engage in sex but as an “educational tool” wherein those at risk will be reminded to practice safe sex if they can’t really avoid it.

“There is a need to understand, that even if we will not distribute condoms at all, there will still be sexual relationship/s that cannot be avoided...and these were proven by surveys... so the distribution of condoms is not a way of introducing them to sex,” Tayag said.

He compared a condom to umbrella wherein if one comes out from his/her house bringing an umbrella, it doesn’t follow that the person wants to rain so he/she can use the umbrella.

“Having a condom or bringing with you a condom does not mean you are looking/ready for sex but a “protective” way to protect you and your partner from an unprotected sex,” he explained. (PNA)
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