The incidence of teenage pregnancy and STI/HIV-AIDS in Northern Mindanao is alarming. The 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFSS4) in Region 10 revealed that 13 in 100 (13%) teenage females in region 10 have already begun childbearing, not only that, the proliferation of STIs/HIV-AIDS is also a problem in the region. Inquire.net, the official website of Philippine Daily Inquirer, pointed out that Northern Mindanao is now a hot spot for HIV. The PDI website said that there were 30 HIV cases recorded in the 1st quarter of 2014. Teenage pregnancy and STI-HIV/AIDS were the results of unprotected sex. According to YAFSS4, 9 in 10 of region 10 youth’s premarital sex were unprotected against pregnancy and STI/HIV-AIDS.
Teenage pregnancy and STI/HIV/AIDS are some of the major concerns of the Commission on Population. These problems need immediate attention. Because of these, POPCOM and the United Nations Population fund conceptualized the U4U as a mobile, interactive, and dynamic project that aims to provide Filipino teens aged 15 to 19 with critical information about delaying sexual debut to prevent teenage pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections. POPCOM, DOH, UNFPA, and partner agencies see the utmost need of intensive information dissemination on sexuality and reproductive health to teenagers and adolescents. YAFSS4 also pointed out that the level of AIDS awareness among region 10 youth have steeply declined, from 95.6% in 1994 and to 79.1% in 2013. POPCOM, DOH, and partner agencies will continue to work closely with the local government units to bring these platforms within reach to Filipino teens. The U4U teen trail– a highly interactive event for teens, will be set up in the barangays to bring ASRH information to teenagers using games, songs, and dances. It will go to school to school and community to community until POPCOM and DOH will be able to reach a critical mass of Filipino teens.
POPCOM-10 has already reached 5,353 teenagers in Northern Mindanao through the 41 U4U activities conducted in 2015. U4U was conducted in Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Occidental. Local government units and partner agencies like DOH, DepEd, NYC, and DSWD appreciated U4U and they expressed their continuous full support in all AHYD activities of POPCOM-10.