Globally, the incidence of new transmissions of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) hasslowed down. In the Philippines, however, official data from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) show that there has been a 174 percent increase in HIV cases since 2010.“There is an urgent and pressing need to curb the infection. While the rest of the world has decreasing rates, we are going the opposite way. This is something that is very alarming,”said Karol Canlas, Brand Manager of Durex Philippines. With its rising HIV numbers, the Philippines is of special interest to Durex. The world’s leading condom brand launched its Always Come Prepared campaign that amplifies the message ofprotecting one’s self from the threat of HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs).The campaign, which uses a quirky visual of a toy soldier using a condom as a parachute,wants to bring the conversation of the HIV threat into a more understandable level and easyto digest way for the general public, particularly the young adults. The numbers tell a grim picture of the situation in the country—an estimated 12,000 newcases reported in 2017, with an estimated 61,000 to 76,000 Filipinos living with HIV. “Contrary to the global rate of new HIV cases, which has been decreasing by 18 percent, thePhilippines sings a different tune. There is a need to ring the alarm bells, to bring theconversation of HIV to more Filipinos in a more understandable way,” said Dr. Louie Ocampo,Country Director of UNAIDS in the Philippines.
The Always Come Prepared campaign will also banner the trio of Boys Night Out – Sam YG,Toni Tony, and Slick Rick as campaign advocates, HIV-testing advocacy group Love Yourself,and UNAIDS. Despite the alarming numbers, condom use is still relatively low in thePhilippines. Condoms are still the only known effective method of preventingthe transmission of HIV and other STDs aside from abstaining.