THE Davao City Health Office Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) has recorded a total of 79 new cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV-Aids) in Davao City for the months of January and February 2017.
During the I-Speak Media forum held at the City Hall Conference Room on Thursday, May 4, RHWC head Dr. Jordana Ramiterre said that the number of cases keeps increasing.
She said that 49 cases were recorded in February while the remaining 30 were recorded in the month of January.
Ramiterre added that last year, they have recorded 30 to 50 cases a month and it was observed that almost the same number of cases was recorded in January and February.
"If you notice, presumably it is [in] parallel with the national [record] which is now increasing and one of the reasons is actually promoting the testing," she said.
She said currently, Davao Region has the fifth highest number of HIV cases in the national level, which contributed six percent of the number of cases last February 2017. In Davao Region, 85 percent come from Davao City.
She added though that some of these patients came from adjacent provinces but has gone to Davao City for testing or some of them may be working or studying here from the other provinces.
Ramiterre added that despite the fact that some are not from Davao, they still consider those who are staying here as vulnerable to the disease which is why they are strengthening their advocacy programs in testing and detection including treatment.
She added they have also extended their services by putting up sundown clinic that conducts testing during the third and fourth Friday of the month from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Since February 2016, the RHWC has become a treatment hub allowed to distribute anti-retroviral drugs for outpatients in Davao City.
Aside from the development of their extension of services, Ramiterre added that RHWC is now involved in a pilot study to localize the confirmatory testing of the reactive results that aim to immediately link those who tested positive of HIV to care services and treatment.
"We are part of the pilot [study in the conduct of local confirmatory testing] though it is not official [yet]. Baka i-localize po ang confirmatory testing, so meaning Southern Philippines Medical Center and RHWC is doing Rapid HIV Diagnostic screening in reactive. We do other screening tests, at kung magreactive sa dalawa or tatlo dito we consider it as a highly probable infection," she said.
After the test, they will then assess the immune system for treatment.
Ramiterre added that most of the common barriers in treatment that patients encountered is the long wait that they had to undergo just to get the confirmatory test results done in Manila, adding that this is what the program seeks to address.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on May 05, 2017.
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