BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Health (DOH) calls for a more vigorous voluntary HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) testing in the different provinces in the Cordillera region this whole month of May.
In observance of the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial and in line with the National HIV Testing Week, the DOH-CAR will be conducting free HIV testing at the various hospitals, rural health units and social hygiene clinics in the region.
The HIV testing centers will be at opened this month of May from 8AM to 5PM at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center and the City Health Services social hygiene clinic in Baguio City; the Bangued RHU and the Abra Provincial Hospital in Abra; the Mankayan RHU in Benguet; Tabuk RHU in Kalinga and the Bontoc RHU in Mountain Province.
In Ifugao, testing centers will also be opened at the Panopdopan District Hospital in Lamut, the Aguinaldo People’s Hospital in Aguinaldo and the Lagawe Municipal Health Office in Lagawe.
In Apayao, testing centers will be available at the Far North Luzon General Hospital in Luna, Apayao District Hospital in Kabugao and Santa Marcela District Hospital in Santa Marcela.
On May 23 and 24, the City Health Services Office will collaborate with an NGO for the conduct of a HIV testing at the Malcolm Square People’s Park.
Trained healthcare personnel as well as counselors will be stationed at the different HIV testing centers to ensure that testing process will be done correctly.
The public is encouraged to take part of the HIV testing but youth aged 18 and below should have consent from their parents or guardians. Under R.A. 8504, or the Philippines Comprehensive Prevention and Control Act of HIV/AIDS, HIV testing is voluntary.
Meanwhile, the AIDS Candlelight Memorial aims to bring heightened attention and active support of everyone in addressing the alarming HIV incidence. The 2017 AIDS Candlelight Memorial has a theme of Ending AIDS Together.
On May 25, Baguio City will commemorate the candlelight memorial with a parade of the different sectors advocating AIDS awareness from the local government unit, government agencies, civil society and other stakeholders along Session Road and will be converging at the People’s Park for the program.
Data from the DOH shows that in February 2017, there were 849 new HIV antibody sero-positive individuals reported to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP). This was 13% higher than the same period last year (751). Eighty-nine percent of those were asymptomatic at the time of reporting.
Most (95%) were male. The median age was 28 years old (age range: 1 year – 64 years). More than half belong to the 25 – 34 year age group while 30% were youth aged 15 – 24 years.
The regions with the most number of reported cases were: NCR with 310 (37%) cases, Region 4A with 129 (15%) cases, Region 3 with 102 (12%) cases, Region 7 with 79 (9%) cases, and Region 11 with 52 (6%) cases.
In the Cordillera Region, at least 307 patients of HIV and AIDS have been recorded. /PIA CAR