CL folks urged to check HIV status

Local News Official
Local News OfficialSunStar File Photo

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO --- Central Luzon residents are encouraged by the Department of Health (DOH) to know their human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status.

The DOH Central Luzon Center for Health Development stressed the importance of regular checkups for early detection and treatment to improve the quality of life of Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV).

The agency said early testing and detection is important to protect oneself from HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

"There should be no fear of knowing the status because regardless of the result, there are ways and activities to help oneself. The effect of not immediately detecting HIV infection is lowering the body's immune system, which can lead to AIDS and opportunistic infections or other diseases," the agency said.

HIV is transmitted through unprotected sex, using needles that have been used by others, transfusions of contaminated blood, and mother-to-child transmission.

"Although there are cases of AIDS that they can still experience normal life, we do not want PLHIVs to experience having AIDS, so as early as now if you know there is an exposure, find out your HIV status immediately," the DOH added.

Free HIV counseling and testing are available at health centers, rural health units (RHUs), and HIV treatment facilities under the government.

"If an individual is a bit hesitant, they can go to HIV treatment facilities, health centers or contact them through online or social media pages," DOH said.

In Central Luzon, the designated HIV treatment hubs and primary HIV care facilities are the Maria Aurora Community Hospital in the province of Aurora; and Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center, Jose C. Payumo Jr. Memorial Hospital, and Mariveles Mental Wellness and General Hospital in the province of Bataan.

In Bulacan, residents may visit the City of San Jose del Monte Primary HIV Care Clinic, Guiguinto RHU II Primary HIV Care Clinic, Meycauayan City Primary HIV Care Clinic, R.E. De Jesus Multi-Specialty Clinic and Diagnostic Center, RHU 1 Marilao Bulacan, Usbong ng Bulakenyo Incorporated, Allied Care Experts Medical Center-Baliwag, Bulacan Medical Center, and Healthway QualiMed Hospital San Jose Del Monte.

In Nueva Ecija, the public can go to Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center, Guimba Community Hospital, Nueva Ecija Medical Center Inc., Premiere Medical Center, Talavera General Hospital, and Angel Cares Medical Health Services.

In Pampanga, there is the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines-Pampanga Chapter, Mabalacat City RHU II Reproductive Health and Wellness Center and Primary HIV Care Clinic, Regional TB-HIV Support Network Incorporated, Apalit Doctors' Hospital, Incorporated, Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital, The Medical City Clark Hospital, and Angeles City Primary HIV Care Clinic.

In Tarlac, residents may visit Moncada RHU 1, Myrna's Cafe Health Service Cooperative, Concepcion District Hospital, and Tarlac Provincial Hospital, while Zambales has the President Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Hospital, San Marcelino District Hospital, and James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital.

"There are also self-test kits available at these treatment facilities, but it is still important to have counseling and guidance in the correct self-testing process. Being aware of the correct information about the disease will help to stop discrimination or stigma against PLHIV who are not contagious through their sweat, saliva, and cough, plus abstinence or avoiding sexual intercourse, being mutually faithful to your partner, correct and continuous use of condoms, and pre and post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent getting HIV," the agency said.

DOH records show that in Central Luzon, the diagnosed cases of HIV reached 13,202 as of December last year. The province of Bulacan has the highest number of cases, with 4,563 cases, followed by Pampanga with 3,782 cases, and Nueva Ecija with 1,671 cases.

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