GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 28 Nov) – The city government is pushing for the establishment of two more treatment hubs here for people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS).
Dr. Mely Lastimoso, coordinator of the City Health Office’s (CHO) Social Hygiene Clinic, said the move was aimed to complement with the rising cases of the disease in the city and neighboring areas.
She said Region 12 presently has two HIV/AIDS treatment hubs being supported by the Department of Health (DOH).
These are the HIV/AIDS Core Team Clinic operated by the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office in Koronadal City and the CHO’s satellite treatment hub here.
“We proposed for the opening by next year of two more treatment hubs, one at a private hospital and another at the city hospital,” she said in an interview over a local television show.
CHO records showed that HIV cases in the city already reached around 600 as of the third quarter of the year but Lastimoso believes that a significant number were still undetected.
To address the problem, she said they have established more testing or screening centers for HIV/AIDS in the area.
Aside from the clinic, she said CHO’s seven cluster rural health units are now capable of conducting screening for the disease through their trained medical technologists.
All private hospitals in the city are also capable of doing HIV/AIDS screening based on the DOH’s standards, she said.
“The results of the tests are treated in confidential manner and there are counselling sessions before and after the screening,” Lastimoso explained.
She said they are hoping to eventually track down and submit to proper treatment all persons living with HIV/AIDS in the city through the continuing free screening program.
Those found reactive could immediately avail of free prophylaxis and antiretroviral or ARV treatment at the CHO, she said.
The government, through the DOH, allots P70,000 a year for each patient’s maintenance or ARV drug treatment, which mainly stops the multiplication of the infected person’s viral load.
On Dec. 1, CHO will again hold a free HIV/AIDS screening activity at the city’s oval plaza covered court in line with the celebration of the World AIDS Day.
Lastimoso said the event will focus on the theme: “Know your HIV status.”
“Our goal is to cover more residents, especially those considered vulnerable, for the tests so we can detect those infected, submit them to treatment and eventually stop the spread of the disease in our area,” she added. (MindaNews)