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DOH-CAR strengthens HIV treatment  and care services

BAGUIO CITY(PIA) – Three Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) treatment hubs are expected to open this year  in the Cordillera  region  in line with the  goal of having at least one HIV treatment facility per province to make  treatment and care services  available and accessible to  all Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV).

Darwin F. Babon, Regional Program Manager – National AIDs, and STI Prevention Control Program for Cordillera Administrative Region(CAR)  said  these treatment hubs will be at  the Far North Luzon General Hospital and Training Center in Apayao; La Paz Rural Health Unit in the town of La Paz, Abra,  and Kalinga Provincial Hospital in  Tabuk City.

Babon also  announced the availability of Certified Rapid HIV Diagnostic Algorithm Confirmatory Laboratory or CrCL in the region.

Prior to the establishment of the Baguio General Hospital as a Certified rHIVda confirmatory site, screened samples for confirmation had to be sent  to San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, and confirmatory  results take a month or two.

“We can now get confirmatory results through our laboratory in one day or within the day, and we are hoping to expand the confirmatory sites at least one per province in the coming months in the early 2024,” he said.

The Department of Health - CAR reported   increase in HIV cases in the region   with  73 new cases  recorded  from January to June 2023.

Of the 73 cases, 25 belong the  15-24 years old bracket , 33  in the  25-34 age bracket , 13 in the 35-49 age group and  two  in 50  and older age bracket.

Babon  bared in  a Kapihan forum that  62 out of the 77 of municipalities/cities in CAR have already recorded HIV cases as of June 2023. The top five most affected areas are Baguio City (60 %), La Trinidad, Benguet (7%), Bangued in Abra (4%), Tabuk City (3%), and  Itogon in Benguet (2.5%).

As to the mode of transmission, Babon reported that men having sex with men registered the  highest with a total of 50 cases, followed by male to female sex with 11, male having sex with males and females with 11, and one case which has no data for the mode of transmission.

From 1984  to June 2023, a total of 1008 HIV confirmed cases have been recorded in CAR  composed of   936  biologically male and 72 biologically  female.

Of the 1008 total cases, 638 are currently enrolled in HIV treatment hubs and accessing Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART), 309 were considered lost to follow-up patients, meaning they were the patients who were initially linked to care, and enrolled in treatment hubs but discontinued the treatment,   while  61 were reported dead.

 Babon said their goal now is to locate all PLHIV who are lost and link them to the services. (JDP/MAWC-PIA-CAR)

About the Author

Maria Aprila Cruz


Cordillera Administrative Region

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