DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Various government agencies are finalizing a protocol to allow minors to undertake Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) testing without prior consent from parents or guardian, an official said.
Guidelines of the “proxy consent” is expected to be approved this December, and is set to be issued in the first quarter of 2018, said Gina Aguilar Molon, children and youth focal person of the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO).
Through an executive order, Molon said the proxy consent will allow minors as young as 15 years old to take the test. It also recognizes the need to raise the youth’s level of awareness on HIV, access to HIV testing, and know how to help prevent the further spread of the disease.
“Meaning all adolescents, minors can be given access since it is their right to health,” Molon explained in a press conference December 1.
The youth are among the “most infected and most vulnerable,” according to Molon, thus the protocol is aimed at preventing the spread of HIV among the said age group.
Currently, minors in the Philippines may only undergo HIV testing after securing consent from parents or legal guardians. This is stipulated under Article 3, Section 15 of the Republic Act 8504 Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998.
“The right to health regardless of ages should be accessed, but because of the limitation of the law we are prohibited,” Molon said at a World AIDS day event in this city.
Across the country, at least 1,013 individuals have been reported to have been found to test positive for HIV antibody, according to figures from the HIV/AIDS and Art Registry of the Philippines. More than 30 percent of which were youth aged 15 to 24 years old, and adolescents aged 10 to 19 years old.
The same report shows that from January 1984 to June 2017, Davao region is the fifth region with the highest number of tallied HIV cases with a total of 2,624.
“Once it will be cascaded here, it will be very easier for us, especially those persons involved in the testing process such as the social workers,” Molon said. (davaotoday.com)davao hiv, hiv infection, HIV positive davao city, HIV Testing