Most Filipino Women Still Clueless About HIV/AIDS

Public HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns have not reached many women in the Philippines, especially those who are poor and less-educated, according to a recently published government report. Among women ages 15-49 who were surveyed for the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey, only 34 percent rejected the two most common HIV transmission myths -- that the virus can be transmitted by sharing food with an HIV-positive person or via mosquito bites.

Overall, just one in five women had a comprehensive grasp of how HIV is transmitted and how it is prevented, including consistent condom use during sex and being monogamous with an HIV-negative, faithful partner. Survey statements also addressed whether a healthy-looking person could be HIV-positive and that the virus cannot be acquired by casual contact like hugging or shaking hands.

One out of three college-educated women had comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS, compared with just 3 percent of those without a formal education. Three in 10 upper-income women had comprehensive understanding of the disease, which was shared by just 1 percent of women in the lowest income class. In the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, two-fifths of the women surveyed had never heard of AIDS.