GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/08 May) — Health personnel here will offer mobile testing services for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as part of the nationwide drive set by the Department of Health (DOH).
Dr. Mely Lastimoso, coordinator of the City Health Office’s (CHO) Social Hygiene Clinic, said Thursday they will set up an HIV testing post at the Robinsons Mall in connection with the National HIV testing week slated on May 11 to 15.
She said the mobile testing facility, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will cater to any resident who would want to avail of the free screening or test for HIV, which causes the deadly Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Lastimoso urged all residents, especially those who had engaged in risky sexual activities, to voluntarily submit themselves to HIV testing.
She specifically cited individuals who have had unprotected sex with multiple partners and those with history of drug use through injections.
“It’s important for all of us to get properly tested and know our HIV,” she told reporters.
The Social Hygiene Clinic, which is located at the city hospital compound, has been offering regular HIV screening and counselling services.
The clinic also conducts free HIV screening every Thursday through a mobile testing post at the Department of Foreign Affairs regional consular office inside the Robinsons Mall.
As of Thursday, a CHO report said the number of confirmed HIV/AIDS cases in the city has already reached 203, with the latest case involving a 23 year-old pregnant mother.
Lastimoso said they have referred the patient to undergo antiretroviral drug treatment at the DOH’s HIV/AIDS treatment hub at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.
The DOH provides HIV patients with maintenance or antiretroviral drug treatment, which mainly stops the multiplication of the infected person’s viral load and eventually prevents them from further spreading the disease.
In some countries, she said the use of antiretroviral drugs has helped effectively lower the incidence of HIV infection to about one percent and eventually stabilized the detected cases.
“It’s a sexually-transmitted case but we really don’t how the patient got it. It takes two to tango so it either came from her current partner or from another person whom she had previous sexual contact,” Lastimoso said.
Since January, it said seven AIDS patients in the area have died due to various disease complications.
Most of the confirmed HIV/AIDS cases in the city were found among male professionals in the 22 to 25 age bracket who were engaged in “risky sexual behaviors.”
They include gays, bisexuals, men who have sex with men or MSMs, and others who engage in unprotected sex and with multiple partners. (MindaNews)