When we talk about sex here in the Philippines, the first things that come to mind are embarrassment and obscenity. With genitals drawn all over the walls of a public school comfort room and the f-word used in profanity, why is there an association with misbehavior when these are biologically normal? Why is it that on the common table, sex is the first thing to be avoided as a topic?
What if we talked more about sex? If we ended the stigma and opened the conversation for such, what could possibly change?
Overpopulation, lack of family planning awareness, and teenage pregnancies
111,046,913— this is an inordinate figure compared to the size of the Philippines.
While recently, the population growth has been slowed down by barely an inch by the pandemic, the steady increase in the populace is still alarming. Even with the RA 10354 or the “Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012,” you can still see households filled with more kids than they can handle. Apparently, the lack of knowledge regarding family planning has triggered more unplanned pregnancies— and with this, families are unable to meet the needs of the children as well. If lower rates of fertility contribute to the reduction of poverty, what would a rising slope indicate?
Aside from this, poor apprehension about sex education and safe sex in particular among pre-teens to teenagers often give rise to teenage pregnancies. When teenagers are not talked to about the things that they need to know, especially around sex, they tend to be more curious and fill the gray area with their peers. They float around and explore unguided, leading to unwanted natality which have contributed greatly to overpopulation as well. This is probably because sex is considered taboo in the natural setting, it’s not something that parents sit down with their children to talk about— however, it needs to be confronted.
Withal, when a tiny country such as ours has this amount of population, do we blame the people for reproducing, or the lack of knowledge thereof? If we have been more vocal and open about sex education, would the awareness about family planning prevent this large mishap?
Deeply connected with the lack of sexual education preparedness, people often put themselves in danger by not knowing sexually transmitted diseases. Whether a person has had sex once, twice, thrice, or many times in their life, they should be responsible enough to know whether they have these diseases. The worst part is not the contracting of the disease, but the process of spreading it to other people through sexual intercourse.
There are different kinds of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other STDs which one should know about. Now, more than ever, to prevent the outburst of this diseases, the discourse for sex should be elevated. The general public, not just the youth, should be well-educated about the dangers of having unprotected sex so that it may not develop into something even more adverse.
In Angeles City, we have the Primary HIV Care Clinic or Bale Angeleno that is located in Balibago. The unit caters STI, HIV Counseling and Testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis, condoms and lubricants— for free to the public. There is an impartial access to these health care resources, all people have to do is step forward and involve themselves in order to end the HIV endemic.
A comprehensive sexual education is vital in improving the nation— economically, logistically, and physically. The usual outlook about sex… being obscene, randy, and indecent should be replaced with a more professional and nurturing approach. We need to stop associating sex with stigma as the right kind of awareness would contribute greatly to positive change and outcome. With the frightening increase-trend in population and expanding HIV endemic, it’s only high time to talk more about these topics. Let’s be more open about sex.