Friday, April 27, 2018

Sarrat, Ilocos Norte gov'ts hold HIV testing

By Bernard Ver

SARRAT, Ilocos Norte—This town’s rural health unit (RHU) of Sarrat and the provincial health office (PHO) conduct voluntary Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) testing in the town’s Tourism Hall on March 12, 2018.

In observance of the International Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (Aids) awareness, the Department of Health together with the Ilocos Norte PHO conducted free HIV testing that included rural health units and social hygiene clinics in region 1.

Trained healthcare professionals as well as counselors were stationed at the different HIV testing centers to ensure that testing process is 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 before undertaking the procedure.

Under Republic Act 8504, or the Philippines Comprehensive Prevention and Control Act of HIV-Aids, HIV testing should be done on a voluntary basis.

Meanwhile, the 2018 advocacy to heightened attention and active support of everyone in addressing the alarming HIV incidence in the country. The theme is "Alamin and estado, Magpatest at Maging Handa, Labanan and HIV/AIDS."

In December 2017, there were 992 new HIV antibody sero-positive individuals reported to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP). Eighty-six percent of those were asymptomatic at the time of reporting.

On HARP's data Most (97%) were male. The median age was 27 years old (age range: 4 to 70 years). Half (50%) of the cases were from the 25-34-year age group while 33% were youth aged 15-24 years.

In fact, the regions with the most number of reported cases are: National Capital Region (NCR) with 351 (35%) cases; Region 4A with 147 (15%) cases; Region 3 with 106 (11%) cases; Region 7 with 74 (7%) cases; Region 6 with 66 (7%) cases; and Region 11 with 41 cases (4%). Additional 207 cases (21%) came from the rest of the country.

Collected information and reported modes of transmission were sexual contact (962), needle sharing among injecting drug users (IDU) and mother-to-child transmission. More likely, eighty-seven percent of infections transmitted through sexual contact were among males who have sex with males (MSMa).

A total of eight pregnant women were diagnosed with HIV in December 2017; four cases from NCR and one case each from Regions 3, 4A, 6, and 7. Age ranges from 15 to 48 years old (median: 24). In Ilocos Norte, the PHO treats at least 17 cases.

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