Rep. Atienza: 'Fight AIDS with self control'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — BUHAY Party-List Representative Lito Atienza said Saturday that he opposes the Department of Health's (DOH) plan to distribute condoms in schools starting next year.

The DOH's move comes amid the rising number of people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) aged 15 to 34 years old.

Related: DOH allocates ₱1 billion to fight HIV

But Atienza said this is not the solution to prevent the spread of HIV and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) as it could lead to more teenage pregnancies.

He said the youth should stick to the traditional way or what has long been acceptable.

"Mas maganda ituro ay 'wag kayong gumawa ng mali [It's better to teach them to not do something bad]," he said. "Preserve everything for your marriage state. Fight AIDS with self control. Education should be telling the children how to be good and not to be bad."

But for Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, a "business unusual" strategy should be implemented now to prevent the transmission of HIV, which includes educating young people in schools about sex.

But this plan also did not sit well with Atienza.

"Ang condom education ay dapat ginagawa ng mga magulang, hindi ng teacher [Condom education should be done by the parents, not a teacher]," he said.

Meanwhile, the National Youth Commission (NYC) urges parents to teach their children safe sex.

"If you're not treated and you have HIV, you only get 10 years," NYC Undersecretary Aiza Seguerra said. "I plead sa mga magulang [to parents], please talk to your children about sex. Please teach your kids na mag-condom [to use a condom]."

If it pushes through, health officials said students will undergo counselling before they are given condoms in school.

The Health Department also said one only needs to follow the ABCs to prevent getting HIV: Abstain, Be faithful and use Condoms.

As of October 2016, there are 38,114 people living with HIV in the country. More than half of these people are aged 25 to 34 years old, while 10,279 are individuals aged 15 to 24 years old.