Sat, 25 May 2019

ISABELA CITY, Dec. 6 (PIA) --The social media is undoubtedly the most important platform for young people today to express themselves and even exercise leadership to influence their fellow youth and their so called "squad" (the urban millennial term for barkada).

Realizing the power of this platform, the leaders of the Isabela City Out-Of-School Youth Network have engaged their fellow OSYs from the different barangays of the city to acquire better understanding of social media as a communication tool for responsible expression and information sharing.

The Philippine Information Agency in Basilan led participants to know the basics of social media etiquette, the responsible use of social media and thereby contribute positive influence that could effect change among young people.

Some 70 youth leaders participated in the Youth Leadership Camp held recently in the city. Participants were mostly beneficiaries of the Mindanao Youth Development (MYDev) program for the out-of-school youths.

PIA-Basilan said that Pew Research Center reported that there are currently 2.8 billion social media users worldwide. Other sources said that there are 2.2 billion monthly Facebook users across the globe and 88 percent of them are 18-29 years old. A study of We Are Social and Hootsuite entitled Digital Globe Overview, released in early 2017 confirmed this, revealing that Facebook has maintained its position as the top social media platform in the Philippines.

"The session was an eye-opener for most of us-that we have to think first before we click," a participant said, realizing that one must be very careful in posting, sharing and uploading information, photos, and videos.

As a powerful tool for communication and information sharing, young leaders were also encouraged to use the power of social media to engage many young people on the issue of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS).

After the discussion with PIA-Basilan, young leaders were convinced to help the government in spreading awareness of the virus among young vulnerable individuals to prevent risky behaviors. Recent studies have shown that infection to the virus has been growing among younger generation.

In October 2018, there were 1,072 new HIV antibody seropositive individuals reported to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP). Nineteen percent (208) had clinical manifestations of advanced HIV infection (WHO clinical stage 3 or 4) at the time of diagnosis. Ninety-five percent (1,016) of the newly diagnosed were male. The median age was 28 years old (age range: 2 - 67 years old). Half of the cases (50%, 537) were 25-34 years old and 29% (306) were 15-24 years old at the time of testing. One third (32%, 343) were from the National Capital Region (NCR). Region 4A (17%, 187 cases), Region 3 (11%, 121), Region 7 (8%, 82), and Region 6 (7%, 76), round off the top five regions with the most number of newly diagnosed cases for the month, together accounting for 75% of the total.

Sexual contact remains the predominant mode of transmission (97%, 1,044). Among this, 86%were males who have sex with males (MSM). Other modes of transmission were needle sharing among injecting drug users (1%,15) and mother-to-child transmission (

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