Category Archives: HIV/AIDS

Phil Media, Luzuriaga


Few weeks ago, rumor-mongers and gossipers had a festival after media reported what was supposed to be a trial court material. A broadsheet publicized a temporary protection order for Bimby Yap against his own father as the former allegedly has been traumatized by an incident that happened in their residence sometime December 2012. Details of the complaint had been included forcing the respondent to air his side. James Yap was interviewed and the media seem to have been elated to show him crying on cam. Accusations over accusations were thrown against each other until Kris Aquino went on air to announce a major decision, which was to quit from show business. ABS-CBN however emphasized she still has a contract and thus Kris cannot just resign that easily. To the dismay of her critics.

This time around, media is again having a gabfest over the Barretto’s family feud. Some even are trying convincing readers/viewers whom to side with. How pathetic. How low.

It cannot be denied that media is influential to the Filipino people. Filipinos have been craving for a change in governance, in their life status, in their mindset. But how can this happen when the people’s source of information delivers with much emphasis gossips over paradigm-shifting ideas, opinions that matters for the betterment of the country, politicians stands on several issues that beset the country? You see that on social network, trending topics consists of celebrities love teams, celebrity’s birthday, celebrity’s fashion fad, celebrity’s faux pas, celebrity’s incoming concert/gig. Bottomline: celebrities. With social media, are we creating a generation of gossipers, teenagers whose main activity is to trend a non-sensible issue over their studies? Teenagers are willing to lose sleep just to trend their favorite celebrities; but does not exert the same effort when it comes to reviewing for their examinations. What the hell is wrong? One time, Mario Maurer just bid good night, and in less than an hour, his tweet got 6 thousand plus retweets. @nababaha tweeted about weather advisory at the same time, and he only got less than 60 retweets?

Time and again I quote Eleanor Roosevelt who once said: “Small mind talks about people. Average mind talks about events. Great minds talk about ideas.” Our media gives more attention to celebrities and their scandals. I hate to admit it, but our media is only at par with small to average minds. Oh please, don’t insult the other us who crave for something better than what you keep offering. Level up for God’s sake! We’re sick of these cheap stuff! But then, the problem with my challenge is, are there writers out there who are of great minds?

Before, I looked forward to watching “Battle of the Brains.” It was a healthy competition among different students and schools. People did not only watch, they as well learned from the questions asked. Now, Sunday noontime tv shows are battles between two production shows. And what people are left to do is pitting one show against the other, ridicule which show has better production numbers, which show has more famous stars, which show has a talented performer.

I hope the media is proud of this achievement they are savoring right now.


Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga (photo:

Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, a Pediatric Immunologist from the University of Massachusetts, is one of the doctors who formed part of the team that cured the first baby from HIV infection. Her father is a Filipino and she speaks Filipino. She is the other Filipino included in the latest Times 100 most influential people. (Read:

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Posted by on April 28, 2013 in HIV/AIDS, Personal


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(photo courtesy of

(photo courtesy of

UN resident representative described the Philippines as the “worst performer” in Asia as far as achievement of Millenium Development Goals (MDG) are concerned. This, as far as lowering of child mortality, decreasing maternal morbidity and mortality as well as HIV prevention are concerned.

These three are included in the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Law that was already signed, implementing rules and regulations signed as well, but put on hold by the “status quo ante order” issued by the Supreme Court on March 19, 2013.

This law went through hurdles for about 16 years before being finally passed by the 15th Congress. It aims to empower people by making them a responsible parent. By this, it will allow parents to determine the number of their offspring they can responsibly have – those that they can feed, vaccinate, send to school and be a responsible citizens of the country. This can be achieved through sexuality education, which will be taught while the children are young, and employment of safe and acceptable contraceptive methods, depending on the couple’s choice, heightened HIV education and awareness especially to population at risk.

Recently, there was a scandal about an adolescent college student who claimed her life after, bottom line, cannot afford to pay her tuition. They are 4 siblings and yet the father cannot afford her tuition fee. And how does this relate to the RH Law? I am not saying the father is irresponsible. BUT, had he considered that he could only afford to rear one or two children, providing all their needs, then his daughter wouldn’t have suffered this problem at such a young and tender age. He could still have his brilliant daughter this very minute with him.

I am the eldest of 4 children. My parents used pills and condoms. We don’t own a house and we had been renting up to this date. When I was about to enter the school of medicine, the 4 of us were already simultaneously going to college. With my father’s income, he couldn’t afford to send us altogether. He talked to me that he cannot afford my tuition. If he would, my other siblings wont be able to enrol. I on the other hand has graduated from college already, so perhaps I could already work and save up for my tuition. I was heartbroken as my aspiration of being a physician was imperiled. I won’t be graduating with my batch mates. I felt it was so unfair for me. I was selfish as I didn’t want to trash my dreams to happen at the right time that I want it to, and without considering my other siblings’ welfare too. But my selfishness was my motivation and determination to find myself a scholarship that can fuel my ambition. My youngest sister as well was able to secure a scholarship for her. So basically, my father was only supporting two of my other siblings as far as tuition and miscellaneous fees are concerned. It was very very difficult time. Sometimes we have to make do with our meager allowance. But one thing I salute my parents for was that we were never delayed in paying our tuition. My parents didn’t want as much as possible for us to be delayed from graduating. They didn’t want as much as possible for us to be working scholars in order for us to afford college. As much as possible, they wanted to shoulder the entire burden of sending us to college as it is their obligation to do so. They believed it was was their duty and responsibility. My parents admitted that they won’t be able to give us land, house or any property for inheritance but our education that will help us build our own future. Now, if my parents who practiced family planning were still hard up to give us good and quality education, how much more for those who had not?

I am aware of that it will be a long time before the concrete effects of RH Law will be experienced by our fellowmen. But delaying it or even preventing it from being implemented, considering our country’s situation right now, is a violation of our rights to access to reproductive health care. We need an immediate tangible effect such as in the following case.

Small for Gestational Infant

A mother conceived, she was hypertensive even at the early stages of her pregnancy. After reaching 20 weeks, her blood pressure all the more shoot up. Even with medical care from a private obstetrician, still the blood pressure wasn’t adequately controlled. At 36 weeks, she came to the hospital in active labor. The baby’s heart beat was erratic and had to be delivered immediately, or else we will lose the baby.

The baby came out without spontaneous breath and crying, and the heart beat was very slow. He had to be resuscitated, a tube was inserted into his trachea to assist him breathing. He was small for his age of 36 weeks, with respect to his weight, length and head circumference (an indirect indicator of brain growth). This only means that the baby was chronically “undernourished” inside the mother’s uterus that’s why all of his anthropometric measurements were below normal.

Adequate blood glucose and oxygen supply from the placenta to the baby is necessary for optimum brain and body growth. Normal or good glucose level stimulates the production of more insulin-like growth factor 2, which is responsible for increasing the number of neurons and oligodendrocytes, and increasing the communications between neurons through dendrites and axon. An increased communication between these two parts of neurons leads to faster transmission of signals. Bottom line, intelligent kid. The opposite, “bobo.” I am not saying this is always the case but the risk, a very high risk at that, to being one is undeniably there.

So this baby already suffered an injury biochemically and physiologically inside the womb, even if he was born alive. So it’s true no mother died in this case. It’s true, no baby died in this case. But the impact of the chronic uncontrolled hypertension to the baby’s brain, IS permanent, and may be debilitating. This thing is still happening among our pregnant mothers, even if they are under the care of able obstetricians. But what about those who have no access to obstetricians? And mind you, this is just one aspect of issues surrounding a pregnant woman. There are more other pressing equally important concerns.

One anti-RH bill argues that there is no more need for RH law as there is already an existing Magna Carta Law for Women. Let me throw back the question to you. With the MCW in place, how come, we still have this high incidence of maternal morbidity and death? With the MCW in place, how come we are not achieving the millenium development goals? And what about HIV which is not included in the MCW, neonates? With the SQAO against implementation of the RH Law, aren’t we not endangering further our poor constituents? Is it right to issue this SQAO at this time?


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The Filipino Adolescents 2012

The Filipino Adolescents 2012.


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The Filipino Adolescents 2012

(Photo courtesy of

A woman recently gained attention after she performed cesarean section on her OWN SELF, delivering her own baby. As of this time we don’t know what drove her to do this. Did she use anesthesia, what kind and how, to avoid pain; or did she do it without any anesthetics at all? What drove her to do this when the baby is term and she could just have waited to labour? She sew herself with a regular needle and thread.

I remember another case of abortion that I came across with, though not as violent as that top story. She was in her early 20s, student. She was impregnated by her boyfriend; they’re unmarried. She looked frail, like someone who’s so meek enough to who raise her point when they’d argue. She seemed like she’ll say yes to everything.

At about 28 weeks, her boyfriend told her to take they need to do something about the pregnancy. They bought some abortifacient from the witches selling “pamparegla” (menstruation regulating substance/concoctions) outside Quiapo Church. (Yes, that iconic church that seems not to do anything about those witches around her, and allowing them to bastardize her with their merchandize, even on a Sunday). She took in 5 tablets of the drug, and inserted another 10 tablets into her vagina. Presto, preterm labor instantly.

She delivered to a 28 weeks preterm baby boy, who eventually needed mechanical ventilator to breath. They cannot afford surfactant so it was not given to the baby.

I talked to the mother of the baby as well as her mother about the incident.

First, I asked her why she committed that act. She blankly said, her boyfriend told her to do it.

Second, I asked her if she knew that taking the drug and inserting them as well to her vagina will cause labor pains, she just said “no.”

Then I told her, “are you aware that what you did is a form of killing?” She just said “no.”

My next question was “do you know that what you did is a crime?” Again, blankly, she said “no.”

Lastly, I told her, “did you know that I can call a police right now and have you arrested for what you did to your baby?” That was the only time she seemed to have realized the gravity of her crime, and so was her mother, and they broke down.

It is overwhelming and alarming that young people nowadays are not abreast with the different things they are doing. Only after the crime as been consummated will they come to realize that such an act was criminal.  What have you there… bullying classmates until the victim falls in a manhole and die, joking about holding/pointing a gun to a playmate and then accidentally shoot and kill him, daredevil stunts with a bike or skateboard just because they saw it was cool on youtube videos and then they get the worse fracture an orthopedics would almost object attending to, and many more.

Adolescence is a time of big confusion during a person’s life; they’re no longer kids, but they’re not yet adults. Hormones are raging making them ambivalent or confused, seeking identity or roles to portray, explore their sexuality, among other else. Peer influence is strong enough thus the high probability to form gangs during this age.

Parents have the biggest responsibility to guide their children until they can become totally independent and live on their own. It’s not the teachers at school, nor the religious at church. But how could the parents attend to all of their children’s needs when there are too many of them? Guidance and proper education can also fill in the void these adolescents quest.

A very matter of fact education that these teens need these days is age-appropriate sex education. This does not teach students to foreplay and have orgasm. Rather, sexuality education that will teach them about their body parts, how it functions, how pregnancy occurs, what are the sequela of being pregnant, responsible parenthood, contraceptives, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), etc. With the advent of information technology, a person can easily access these information, but without guidance, they will not understand it clearly. Still guidance is what these young people need so as to avoid unwanted “excursions.”

A study done has already shown that sexuality education has significantly delayed the first sexual intercourse among teenagers, lesser incidence of STIs, lesser incidence of early pregnancy and increased use of contraceptives.

Another sad facts that have plagued the young people recently are: (1) Philippines has been ranked no. 1 having the most number of teenage pregnancies in Asia, (2) increasing incidence since 1984 of HIV/AIDS among the 15-24 age bracket (2282/9669 or 23.6% cummulative incidence as of May 2012,, and (3) the very high incidence of smoking among the Filipino teenagers. These must have caught the attention of those in the palace.

Will you just be startled there?


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While You Were Sleeping (On Reproductive Health Issues)

While You Were Sleeping (On Reproductive Health Issues).


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While You Were Sleeping (On Reproductive Health Issues)

“While You Were Sleeping” is a romantic comedy which tells a story of a train token collector who has a crush on a regular commuter, saves him when from being ran over by a train when muggers pushed him onto the rail track, and misinterpreted as the fiancee when he falls into coma. But while the man she has a crush on is in a deep sleep, she made the family come closer and fell in-love with her “fiance’s” brother.

In the Philippines, reproductive health bill has been proposed, and few months shy from her debut, several have happened white it was ignored since drafting.

While You Were Sleeping…

The Philippine population ballooned to a population of 101,833,938 (July 2011 est, The estimated birth rate is at 25.34 births/1000 population. The age structure is as follows:

  • 0-14 years: 34.6% (male 17,999,279/female 17,285,040)
  • 15-64 years: 61.1% (male 31,103,967/female 31,097,203)
  • 65 years and over: 4.3% (male 1,876,805/female 2,471,644) (2011 est.)
  • According to the World Bank report, our population density on 2010 reported on 2011 was 312.78 persons per sq. km, from a previous of 307.55 on 2009. (Source: This is a far cry from the ideal population density of 50-100 people per sq. km.


  • A big fraction of the population ranked themselves poor, and this kept increasing annually. In order to survive, people resorted to odd jobs, to the extent of trading themselves just to earn a living — organ donor, drug mules, prostitutes, escorts, cybersex partners, and what have you.
  • Mothers, whose body cant take anymore the burden of successive pregnancies, have been dying and dying, at an average of 11 per day.
  • Many parents cannot afford to send their children to school. Instead, they send them begging at the street (one father even had the nerve to buy cigarettes with his child’s earnings), pimp them to pedophiles and child pornography and whatever sort, just to augment the family’s income.
  • Many parents cannot afford to feed all of their children adequately, making them malnourished and sickly. Some parents even gather leftovers from fastfood restaurants, cook and feed it to their children as “pagpag”. And there was one senator who complained why this was featured in an international news network, as if denying this will cloud the fact that it exists. Malnutrition underlies all of the disorders causing under-five children’s mortalities.
  • Many parents cannot afford life-saving vaccines not offered in government health centers, making their children contributors to the mortalities among under-five population.
  • Parents are forced to go abroad to: (1) find employment as there’s no suitable job appropriate for their skills; (2) augment the meager income of the spouse; (3) help sustain the expenses of the (super-) extended family.
  • Unwanted and unplanned pregnancy has also led to abortions. Unfortunately, some mothers have died of complications from this.

While some Filipinos opted to work abroad…

  • Some OFWs contracted HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, brought it home and spread to their partners.
  • Children lost mother/father figure who’s supposed to guide them growing up, making some of them end up as juvenile delinquents.
  • Adolescents who were not being guided during that most important phase of their life when parental guidance is badly needed, ended up pregnant/impregnating someone, significantly increasing to 70% over a decades time, as attested by UNFPA.
  • Some priests blamed rise in incidence of teenage pregnancies to moral values breakdown. (What? Why, how did it happen this way? I thought you were the moral shepherd in the country! Does that mean, you’re not being heard by your flock, irrelevant?)
  • Husbands left in the country had been committing incestuous crimes, adultery, bigamy, etc.

While mothers are dying…

  • Their children became unattended and thus their kids ended up juvenile delinquents (paulit-ulit? E sa totoo naman kas!)
  • Daughters tend to get pregnant earlier
  • Bereaved children experienced significant decline in physical health status, increased psychological distress and even increase in alcoholic consumption. (Source: )

While you thought sex education is taboo and should never be introduced to young children…

  • Children are resorting online for their inquiries and sexuality. Unguided, they are already accessing pornography online. (In fact, in a related incident, a child in the US was enlisted as a sex offender for life, at age 13, even without kissing a girl or having had sex with any but by mere accessing child pornography, online.)
  • Because of peer pressure and ignorance, teenagers are experimenting, ending up getting pregnant earlier, when their physical body isn’t prepared yet. UNFPA reported that incidence of teenage pregnancy ballooned to 70% from ten years ago.
  • HIV/AIDS and STI have explosively increased from 1984 to present… (see Philippines is one of the only 5 countries where HIV/AIDS incidence is increasing.
  • Studies revealed that age-appropriate have delayed exposure to intercourse, increased use of contraceptives at first sexual intercourse, and did not promote promiscuity. (And yet the CBCP blames loose moral values as the culprit. Wasn’t that their job in the first place? So they have slackened? Shouldn’t they be ashamed pointing fingers and passing judgements?)
These are but few of the obvious implications of “sleeping” on this important measure. The casualties of reproductive health bill non-passage and non-implementation aren’t only the mothers who died because of abortion nor complicated pregnancy. It goes beyond, it also those children less than five years old – neglected and not having cared for thoroughly, appropriately and adequately due to poverty – which emanated from…?

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Sex Education Among The Young – Scientific Evidence

Sex Education Among The Young – Scientific Evidence.


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