The medium is not the message in a reported plan of the Department of Health (DOH) to distribute condoms in schools across the country starting in 2017 as part of the government’s efforts to arrest the spread of HIV/AIDS among young Filipinos.
An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines recently noted an increase in the number of Filipinos aged 15 to 24, who are “mostly high school and college students” reported to be afflicted with HIV/AIDS.
What was Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial thinking when she announced on Wednesday that they are making available rubbers not only in traditional health centers but also in school clinics because HIV/AIDS appeared to have gone berserk, lately victimizing the country’s youth?
Putting a box of condoms in the hands of even fairly mature young people won’t help stop the deadly disease because HIV/AIDS can also be transmitted by other means such as dirty needles and infected blood.
Of course, the disease can also be passed on through “unprotected” sex but what if the contraceptive sheath breaks?
Then, out goes the window combating HIV/AIDS with latex and lube.
Ubial might know of other ways through which the disease is transmitted that the public, however, probably already knows.
Making rubbers within easy reach of high school and college students perhaps would lessen teen or post-teen pregnancies but we doubt if the rather knee-jerk reaction of the health chief to a pestering medical, social and economic scourge was the correct way to battle the disease.
Ubial obviously wants a quickie tool against HV/AIDS eradication when she could have spent more time on foreplay and come up with long-term weapons, not necessarily solutions, to address the health menace.
We would rather talk abstinence, coupled with serious sex education that is not, however, imparted by giggly teachers to students laughing and self-conscious as they are instructed on how a condom is worn and discarded after use.
Ubial defends the condom distribution, saying, “Distribution of condom[s]is not a bad habit. We are not encouraging the youth to use [them]. [The condoms are] for safekeeping and should be used only during emergenc[ies]and for [the youth’s]protection.”
She is blabbering here, because she says she is giving something that should not be used, which is akin to handing money to a godson this Christmas and telling the kid not to spend it on anything.
Ubial apparently has no idea on what killed the cat (no, felines are not always thrown from the 20th floor to their deaths or drowned in a washing machine).
Young people, in their rush to do it, most likely would not even think of fishing out a condom or two from his/her bag because it spoils the fun and enjoyment of the sex act.
Worse, the enterprising among the youth may not be past selling the condoms to interested parties to make a quick buck at the expense of the government.
Ubial, in announcing the condom distribution, did not say where the money for it would be sourced.
Neither did she mention who between the DOH and the Department of Education would be footing the condom bill.
The health secretary also did not say whether the rubbers will be handed over only to public high schools and colleges.
Ubial would get a headache there because private schools especially those run by the Roman Catholic Church and other conservative administrators have been vehemently opposed to condom use even if it is
meant to contain HIV/AIDS.
The health chief can’t shoot two birds with one stone, can she?
She can, of course, only if she wants to be accused of trying to put one over the Church and its allies.