Vice President Leni Robredo has expressed concern over the plan of the Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) to distribute condoms in public schools and health centers, saying the move might only promote promiscuity among young people.
Robredo was quoted in an interview in Cebu on Saturday, saying. “I think it’s dangerous in the sense that it might promote the culture of promiscuity.” The Vice President said schools should instead educate the students on reproductive health and other related topics.
Politikal Pinoy agrees 100% on the need for education on reproductive health and other sexual health issues, but I challenge the VP to a public debate on her statement regarding condom distribution and promiscuity.
In my past life, I have been involved in HIV/AIDS education in California and Hawaii, directing prevention education programs targeting youth and people of color communities, including Filipino youth.
For the VP To issue unfounded statements to oppose sound public health policy is irresponsible. It might seem to her a good media soundbite, but it cannot stand the test of science.
The Philippines is one of only a handful of countries where the trend of new HIV infections is on the rise, as opposed to a worldwide trend of decline. So now, more than ever, we need a health policy that protects rather than endanger our citizens.
If the VP or her staff only did a little homework before making statements or opinions, then it would become clear to her that condom distribution in schools or health centers does not promote promiscuity nor encourage earlier sexual activity.
* A study of New York City’s school condom availability program found a significant increase in condom use among sexually active students but no increase in sexual activity.
* A World Health Organization review of studies on sexuality education found that access to counseling and contraceptive services did not encourage earlier or increased sexual activity.
* In Europe and Canada where comprehensive sexuality education and convenient, confidential access to condoms are more common, the rates of adolescent sexual intercourse are no higher than in the United States.
These do not even scratch the surface of mounting scientific evidence that would easily debunk Robredo’s statement — evidence that address worldwide problems of sexual health and teen pregnancy.