Due to severe economic inequality in the Philippines, many Filipinos simply cannot afford contraceptives. As a result, many teenage girls become mothers. HIV infections also become common in homosexual relationships in poorer communities.
Many Filipinos have no access to contraceptives, especially in rural areas. According to previous research, many begin their first sexual experiences with little to no protection at all. This might explain why teenage pregnancy rates are higher in the provinces compared to urban centers.
Cultural and Social Stigma
There is a stigma regarding both contraceptives and homosexual relationships in the Philippines. Even though condoms are common in convenience stores, young people opt not to buy them due to this stigma. Condom wearing in the Philippines is also frowned upon or banned outright in conservative communities.
Solutions to the Condom Conundrum
The following are a few key solutions in addressing the problems resulting from lax condom wearing in the Philippines. Many of these efforts are already being implemented in the country. But due to government and religious policy, they are hard-pressed to gain a foothold.
Increased public awareness
Helping people become more aware of the dangers of unprotected sex is a great start. Advocating for condom and contraceptive use could lessen HIV and unintended pregnancy cases among young people. These government advocacy campaigns also serve as the medium for the distribution of condoms to the community.
Distributing condoms in schools is undeniably effective. It is also one of the UNAID’s proposed thrusts in order to teach safe and responsible sex among younger people.
Sex and Sexuality Education
Implementing sex education in schools allows for a greater understanding of basic biology and sex. Knowing more about the risks of unprotected sex also deters more young people from doing it irresponsibly.
Removing Social Stigma
Removing the social stigma of condom wearing in the Philippines and in the Filipino culture is a complex solution. However, the benefits of changing a personal conservative worldview to a more progressive one would help immensely.
Filipinos are, simply put, lax when it comes to practicing safe sex. Many are misinformed or have no access to contraceptives. Better sex education and a comprehensive contraceptive program are needed in order to address these growing problems. Programs dedicated to responsible and safe sex practices for Filipinos are also beneficial. Distribution of condoms and other contraceptives to low-income areas can also be considered.
Learn more about Sexual Wellness here.