Seventy-nine new cases of persons with HIV have been reported this year by the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) of the Davao City Health Office.
The new cases were diagnosed during the months of January (49 ) and February (30), said RHWC head Dr. Jordana Ramiterre, at the I-Speak media forum at the City Hall Conference Room on Thursday, May 4.
The number is slightly higher than the number diagnosed for the same period last year, said Ramiterre, who noted that the increase is still within the national average.
The increase, according to Ramiterre, could be traced to people coming out for testing due to the vigorous advocacy programs and information campaign of the RHWC.
Davao Region has the fifth highest number of HIV cases in the national level. In Davao Region, 85 percent of the cases come from Davao City, said Ramiterre at the weekly media forum of the City Hall Information Office.
Aside from its advocacy programs, testing and detection, the RHWC also provides free anti-retroviral drugs for outpatients in Davao City.
To farther strengthen its campaign to reach more people, the RHWC, said Ramiterre, will hold “sundown testing clinics” during the third and fourth Friday of the month from 6 p.m. to midnight.
At its clinic at the City Health Office, the RHWC conducts the initial test on patients. The confirmatory test however is done in Manila, which takes a long time for the result to arrive in Davao.
A big boost to the anti-AIDS campaign is a plan to “localize” the conduct of the confirmatory test in Davao City.
Ramiterre said RHWC is now involved in a pilot study to localize the confirmatory testing.
If implemented, the confirmatory testing will be conducted in Davao City by the Southern Philippines Medical Center, said Ramiterre.