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Everything You Need to Know About Sexual Health in the Philippines

Everything You Need to Know About Sexual Health in the Philippines

Sexual health in the Philippines means being free of sexually related illnesses, disability, disease, violence, and other negative practices related to sexuality. It also means that a person is physically, emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, and spiritually stable.

There are 7 sections involved in checking if a person is a sexually healthy adult:

  • Relationship
  • Self-esteem
  • Communication
  • Values
  • Education
  • Body Integrity
  • Spirituality

What Does It Mean To Be a Sexually Healthy Adult?

A sexually healthy adult is someone who is able to maintain a balanced sexual relationship with another person and with their own sexual identity.

  • A sexually healthy adult is able to respect if their partner wants to have sex or not, and they feel comfortable asking questions about their own sexual health.
  • They are able to talk about their limitations and preferences when it comes to sex. They may speak openly about their intentions when it comes to a relationship, whether it’s for casual dating or a committed relationship.
  • Sexually healthy adults are also able to form friendships that are strictly platonic with the opposite sex. They are also able to explore other avenues of intimacy without things becoming sexual.
  • Sexually healthy adults are also able to set boundaries and respect other people’s boundaries. They are able to accept refusal of sex without feeling animosity or questioning as to why they were rejected.
  • Most of all, they are able to appreciate your own body. They are comfortable with their own sexual identity and orientation. They do not allow others to exploit them nor do they exploit other people.

Awareness about sexual health in the Philippines is steadily growing. It has reached the lower socioeconomic sectors of the population as well. People are being educated about their rights and what they are entitled to. It may be a slow process, but what matters is that it is finally being given the attention that it deserves.

What Is the Reproductive Health Law and How Does It Protect Sexual Health in the Philippines?

In the Philippines, we have the Reproductive Health Law that protects the 13 Sexual Reproductive Health Rights of a person. This ensures that all Filipinos can inquire about reproductive health without fear of being shamed, exposed, or judged for not wanting to have children or for wanting them early on in life.

This law also seeks to protect women from pregnancies that can endanger their lives. It shields them from forced pregnancy, forced sterilization, or forced abortion. The Reproductive Health Law also seeks to protect women from harmful traditional health practices, while ensuring access to the highest possible quality of healthcare. This is definitely a step up for the state of sexual health in the Philippines.

Reproductive health is about enabling people to have a satisfying and safe sex life while having the ability to reproduce, should they choose to do so, and giving them the freedom to decide on the if, when, and how often. It is also about empowering people to fight against sexually transmitted diseases.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Sexual Health in the Philippines

Types of STDs affecting Sexual Health in the Philippines

Sexually transmitted diseases, also known as STDs, are spread most of the time through sexual intercourse. There are eight known types of STDs, including some forms of hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, syphilis, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, genital herpes, genital warts, and gonorrhea.

Here are a few quick definitions of the different STDS:

HIV/AIDS

A potentially fatal virus that can be passed on through blood transfusion of contaminated blood, or through sexual intercourse. It can also be spread by contact with infected blood. A mother may pass it to her child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding.

Syphilis

This is a bacterial infection that starts as a painless sore, typically found in the rectum, mouth, or genitals. It spreads via skin or mucous membrane contact with the sores.

Chlamydia

A bacterial infection. Women can get it in the cervix, rectum, or throat. Men can get it in the urethra, rectum, or throat. A woman can also pass chlamydia to her baby during childbirth.

Trichomoniasis

A common and easily treated sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite. In women, trichomoniasis can cause a foul-smelling vaginal discharge, genital itching and painful urination. Men who have trichomoniasis typically have no symptoms. Pregnant women who have trichomoniasis might be at higher risk of delivering their babies prematurely.

Genital herpes

These are small painful blisters that are found in the genital area. These blisters pop and leave sores that bleed or ooze with pus. This is normally accompanied by a fever or headache. This can be managed but it is not curable.
It is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of this virus: HSV-1 which causes oral herpes and HSV-2 which causes genital herpes. HSV-1 can be transmitted to the genitals through oral sex.

Genital warts

Although uncomfortable, these are mostly harmless and treatable. They are normally found on the entrance of the anus and genitals. These are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can lead to cancer at times.

Gonorrhea

An infection that causes a burning sensation when urinating. This is accompanied by a white or yellow discharge from your genitals. This is a serious complication but it can be treated with the right medicine.

Hepatitis B

An infection of the liver that spreads when people come in contact with the blood, body fluids, or open sores of someone who has the hepatitis B virus. This is treatable and goes away if you get it as an adult.

 

Protecting Yourself From STDs for Better Sexual Health in the Philippines

Sexually transmitted diseases are some of the most contagious diseases. They are serious illnesses that require treatment. Some, such as HIV, are not yet curable and can be deadly. Knowing more about the diseases can help you learn how you can protect yourself better.

STDS can be transmitted through oral, vaginal, or anal sex.

However, trichomoniasis may be spread through contact with damp or moist objects. Toilet seats, wet clothing, and towels are some of the most common possibilities, though sexual contact remains the most common reason.

Those who are more prone to contracting sexually transmitted diseases are those who forego using a condom during oral, vaginal, or anal sex.

The risk of contracting STDs also increases when a person has more than one sexual partner or if their sexual partner is regularly intimate with other partners as well. Sex workers, as well as those who share needles when using recreational drugs intravenously are considered at high risk of getting infected with sexually transmitted diseases.

STD Statistics and Sexual Health in the Philippines

In the Philippines, syphilis, HPV, HSV, and HIV infections are some of the most commonly sexually transmitted diseases in the Philippines. From 2011 to 2018, there was a total of 665 syphilis patients, 2,053 HPV patients, and 977 herpes patients. HIV positive individuals reached 58,181 from January 1984 to August 2018.

With the improvements being done about the state of sexual health in the Philippines, we should be able to address, monitor, and overcome these diseases, step by step.

Key Takeaway

Although sexual health in the Philippines still has a long way to go, it is slowly becoming at par with world standards. City health workers are educating the masses and informing women everywhere of their rights. The LGBTQ community are also no longer being discriminated against and have equal access to information and health care. Slowly but surely, we will be able to achieve the true definition of sexual health in the Philippines.

Learn more about sexual wellness here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

What is Sexual Health?, https://www.doh.gov.ph/node/1374

Accessed April 18, 2020

 

Sexual and Reproductive Health of Young Women in the Philippines: 2013 Data Update, https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/sexual-and-reproductive-health-young-women-philippines-2013-data-update

Accessed April 18, 2020

 

In the Philippines, the long wait for free sexual health care continues, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3680573/

Accessed April 18, 2020

 

Fueling the Philippines’ HIV Epidemic, https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/12/08/fueling-philippines-hiv-epidemic/government-barriers-condom-use-men-who-have-sex

Accessed April 18, 2020

 

Trends of Sexual and Reproductive Health Behaviors among Youth in the Philippines (English), https://dhsprogram.com/publications/publication-fa127-further-analysis.cfm

Accessed April 18, 2020

 

Young People, https://philippines.unfpa.org/en/node/15309

Accessed April 18, 2020

 

Sex, HIV, and Young Filipinos, https://philippines.unfpa.org/en/news/sex-hiv-and-young-filipinos

Accessed April 18, 2020

 

Adolescent sexual initiation and pregnancy: what more can be learned through further analysis of the demographic and health surveys in the Philippines?, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6701073/

Accessed April 18, 2020

 

Assessment of country policies affecting reproductive health for adolescents in the Philippines, https://reproductive-health-journal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12978-018-0638-9

Accessed April 18, 2020

 

New law important boost to HIV response in the Philippines, https://www.who.int/philippines/news/detail/11-01-2019-new-law-important-boost-to-hiv-response-in-the-philippines

Accessed April 18, 2020

 

HIV 101: The basics, how to prevent it, and where to get tested, https://cnnphilippines.com/life/culture/2019/02/19/HIV-basics.html

Accessed April 18, 2020

 

‘Reasons Why We Need the RH Law’, https://news.abs-cbn.com/insights/08/16/10/reasons-why-we-need-rh-law

Accessed April 18, 2020

 

Philippines General Health Risks: Sexually Transmitted Infections, https://www.iamat.org/country/philippines/risk/sexually-transmitted-infections

Accessed April 18, 2020

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Medically reviewed by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
Written by Kathy Kenny Ylaya Ngo
Updated 2 days ago
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